What Do I love about Being Black- Sisterhood

I now understand why  “woke” black women call each other…Sister.  Those moments when we are out there in the empire alone…a sister will shine some light with a look or a smile or a hello that is like an infusion of empowerment that enables me to silently deal with whatever situation may come my way.

Today I took a fantastic class at the gym.  It was super hard and at the end, the instructor said, “Turn to the person near you and give them a high-five”  I turned to the white woman next to me…she turned her back on me to high five a white woman behind her.   This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, won’t be the last, so I just put my hands down and bent down to pretend like I was tying my shoe.  I stood up and a sister was standing in front of me with a big old grin sweat pouring down her body just like me she said ,”WHOO!!  Good Job Lady!!!!”   We high-fived each other and laughed loud…  That my friend is sisterhood.

This interaction happens all the time, so many white women (of course not all but many in my experience) do not see people of color…unless these specific white women need something from the person of color.

Black women who are sisters…see one another.  We smile, we say excuse me, thank you and hello.  We nod when passing on the street and those simple kind acts can mean the world. Black women who are sisters show one another common courtesy in a world where many women black or white…do not.

When I’m out in the empire where white people, living in their happy ignorance, will knowingly or unknowingly throw at me, It’s nice to know I can see a sister…and share a kind nod and a smile that will help us both make it to the next moment with grace.  And that my friends…is some serious Black Girl Magic.





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Do You Believe?


The one positive thing I’m holding onto from this election is the power of belief.  I see a person, who said they were going to do something ,when many people laughed and said it was never possible…this person, set an intention, stuck to it and it happened.

I know, I am oversimplifying in order to find a positive perspective.  Of course the entire system was, is, and always will be in favor of this awful person.  This country was built on racism, corruption, fear, terror and a caste system based on class and race.  This format has worked for over 200 years.  Okay.  So are we gonna sit back and complain and cry or are we going to make a plan, and then take action?

Yet, 8 years ago, there was another movement of belief.  We believed in hope and change.  Then what happened? Many things…to many things to say here on this little blog.

But how many of us, took action towards actually making hope and change happen?  How many of us were more interested in some reality show or getting our hair done, or vacation, or our job or individual family issue to actually be engaged in our communities?

How many of us were so focused on our personal interest that we lost track of the world around us?

Well, the results of this election are what happens when we do not believe.

We have become soft.  Now is the opportunity to develop…grit.  Part of the American dream is be corrupt, make a lot of money and become an idol.

Now is the time to show up.  Now is the time to hold ourselves accountable and step into our power.  We must believe we can in order to do.  No matter what anyone else says.

I think about how my ancestors  survived…through segregation, through Jim Crow, through slavery… they survived and found a way to thrive so that I could carry on that strength, that power, that belief on to the next generation.

This is an opportunity.  An opportunity to believe that we can.  Believe that we can listen more than talk.  Believe that we can do whatever it is we want to do with this limited life time we are given.

Educate yourselves about the world around you by READING.   Know facts then build what you want to create by what you believe.

Start with your individual life.  Commit to something. Believe it can happen.  Then make it so.

If we believe everything is possible.  It’s never over. There is always another day.  It’s time to ante up and kick in.

Believe in your yes.  That’s all we’ve got..right?



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Is there ever “Safe Space” for black folks?

photo-on-9-23-16-at-9-12-amFriday Boot Camp is one of my favorite hard ass classes.  I arrive early, chat with the teacher and set up the gear in my favorite spot.

A few weeks ago, some small pushy white woman with long dark hair pulled back into a pony tail, came late to class. There were other spaces in the room where she could have set up.  But she picked the space too small for anyone to fit into…which was right next to me. I would have to move over in order to give her space to take class.  And she was late.

Now, I can feel the resistance from some of you already.  Just be polite, just move over.

There were plenty of other spaces she could have occupied in the room, but she chose to be next to me. This short white woman with the dark hair pulled back into a pony tail, picked a space she wanted, and EXPECTED me to just naturally accommodate her.  One of two black women in a class of about 20 women.

So, when this small white woman with the dark brown hair pulled into a pony tail pretended she did not see me standing right next to her and slammed her weights down right next to me, I could have quietly moved over but I said something.  I said, sarcastically…

“I guess you want me to move over.”

She said…

“Actually, yes. There’s plenty of room over there.”

Let’s stop here for a moment.  On paper, this can be a total non-event.  Woman is late, kinda rude, so be the bigger person and make space for her right?

Sure on paper. And it’s not like this is the first time something like this has happened to me in the world.

It happens all the time and that is the problem.

I am a member of an upper-scale gym and there are a bunch of entitled white women who are also members. (Yea, I’ll admit it…I’m a bourgie wanna be. I like expensive gyms.) By the way these women behave, it’s obvious that most of the people of color they know are people who serve them. And, I’m sure some have a husband who is black and one black friend and you know what, judging from their actions, these white women must believe most black people are on the planet to be in service to them.

I’ve been a member since 2013 and since July have worked out 6 days a week and I notice  things. I noticed that, very few of these white women  who are members speak to the black women who are members.  (I mean, to be brutally honest, most of the white female trainers do not speak to  black  female members or the black female trainers.)  When it comes to the locker room, these white women are downright nasty.  Leaving their long hair in clumps in the shower drains and splattered on the sides of the shower walls.  They flick stubble filled used shaving cream and soap all over the showers, and leave their used razors on the floor of the shower. Not flushing toilets, hogging the benches in the locker room, flicking their hair all over the place with the hair dryer when you are trying to walk through the dressing room to the bathroom…and I’m not even going to mention the state of the sanitary napkin receptacles with no regard for the people who already have a shitty job of cleaning up other women’s messes.

The Black and Brown women who work as bathroom attendants are invisible to these white women unless…they have a problem.

“Umm..excuse me miss..I forgot my combination. Umm…miss where are the tampons?”  One time this white woman actually asked one of the Latina attendants to fish her key out of the toilet when the woman had dropped her key in the toilet bowl when she was taking a pee.  Yes, this white woman wanted the Latina bathroom attendant to stick her hand into the white woman’s urine water…to fish out her key.  These white women at my gym who behave like this, make it really, really easy to hate them. I work hard not to. Seriously.

We live in a world where black and brown people are automatically thought to be accommodating the needs of everyone else. If there’s a black person in the room, they must be somehow in service.  Even if the black person is not in service, It’s okay to just invade their space, push them aside.

So, when that short white woman with the dark hair pulled back into a pony tail expected me to move over, I said, “Of course, because everyone has to accommodate your needs.  You are the one who was late. Why should I have to move.”

I moved my things over.  “Yea I told that bitch. I could have kept my mouth shut, but I told her.” I thought. “Yea I’m moving my stuff over… but I told her.” She went into the weight closet.  Then she returned and she could have kept her damn mouth shut, but she did not.  She poured on the sarcasm,” Thank you so, so much for moving over!  I mean, what’s with the attitude? I don’t understand…”

Then, I don’t know what she said because in my mind’s eye,  I saw myself taking my fist and punching her right in the face. I did not wanna slap her, I wanted to curl my fist into a ball and just punch her. I recognized my anger and took a deep breath.  I said nothing, picked up my things and moved to the other side of the room.  During this interaction the spaces in the room had filled up.  The only open space, other than the one next to that short white woman with the dark hair pulled back into a pony tail, was behind the pole where I could not really see the instructor clearly.

I did class behind the pole, releasing my anger through physical activity, saying nothing. The instructor,  checked on me later during class and said,”Why are you back here?  Can you see? ”  I don’t wanna be anywhere near that bitch up there” I said.   “We’ll talk later” he said.

The workout kicked my ass and cleared my mind.  Class ended and instantly endorphins flooded into my brain and a wave of love and happiness passed over my entire body, but the imprint of that interaction remained. The following week, the instructor changed the format of the class to a moving circuit class where we work through stations.  I never saw the short white woman with the dark hair pulled back into a pony tail leave the room.  At least I think I haven’t, honestly, I have no idea of who this short white woman with the dark hair pulled back in a pony tail is.  That day I did not have my contact lenses or my glasses on and was working out in a blurred world.

At all times a black woman’s reactions will be judged harshly.  We do not have the freedom to behave like that short white woman with the dark hair pulled back in a pony tail. We constantly must manage not only the regular daily stresses of life… we have to deal with so much more.  Even when we attempt to create safe spaces for ourselves in the world..are they ever really safe when the perspective of this white ruled world is blurred?

I don’t wanna leave ya’ll in a negative space.  I’ve started to play around with the idea that my safe space is not external.  My safe space, my happiness comes from within and I carry that safe space with me everywhere.  So, no matter who says what to me.  No matter what I hear from the media. No matter how I am rejected, disrespected, under rated or pushed aside, I am connected to a well of safety and happiness that I can connect to any time I want.  That connection goes back generations and I am always connected to that power.

Is there ever safe space for Black Folks?  Yes, we have an unlimited well of authentic safety within and that my friends is why we still stand strong and we always will.

We have to.  It’s the only way to survive in a world that is blurred.




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Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker and Fox. Hmmmm…..Know your brand.


These are  about 6 large companies who own all Mass Media in the USA.
The Walt Disney Company
Time Warner
CBS Corporation

These large companies control the bulk of what we watch on TV, Film and read in books and newspapers.

Here’s some examples of who owns what….
Time Warner owns: HBO, Turner Broadcasting and Warner Brothers


FOX owns:  FX, FOX Network, 20th Century Fox, National Geographic Studios and Fox Searchlight

AMC owns : IFC, Sundance TV, BBC America, IFC Films

Disney owns : ABC network, Lucasfilm, Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney films, Lifetime Network, ESPN, Marvel Entertainment

All of these companies own hundreds of smaller affiliate TV stations and invest in independent production companies.

Fox Searchlight financed Nate Parker.  When they decided to invest $20 million dollars in this black man of course they did their research.  Of course they looked into his past. Of course they knew he was accused of raping a white woman with his white friend who also is his writing partner.  Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch who hired Roger Ailes who was the mastermind behind Fox News, who was sexually harassing his female employees.  The same Fox network that backs Fox news that creates content to reinforce fear based racial stereotypes that harm the black community.

The folks over at Fox are stunningly, blatantly brilliant at creating racial content that hurts the black community while, at the same time employs members of the black community and tells compelling stories about facets of the black community.

Mass media is not as simple as the colors black and white.  There are contradictions and nuances.

I watch a TON of Television and I notice things.

I stopped watching Gotham, which is on Fox network, (and I watch network TV on Hulu…which is a consortium of Fox, Time Warner, through the ABC TV network) because I noticed that usually a black character, male or female, was violently shot in the first 10 minutes of show pretty consistently.  That just pissed me off.   I tolerated it because Jada Pinkett Smith had an interesting character…then she was gone…I kept watching and like every week a black character was shot or stabbed or killed in some violent way in the first 10 minutes of the show…then the story line was based on the white people.

Empire..a show with a ton of black people right?  Well…yes.  Created by a gay black man, with powerful storylines for the gay black male character and his relationships with his parents and partners.  Well done.  Yet…Cookie even though she is well-played is an ex con who sold drugs and did time for the love of her life…and the show goes back to the minstrel shows for the black female characters stereotypes from Mammy to Hottentot venus to the tragic mullato…they are all in Empire.  Along with the white trophy wife…all there.  I chose not to watch that hot mess.

Sleepy Hollow was interesting in the beginning.  Great Black Female lead…possible love interest with a time traveling Ichbod Crane…yet they never allowed those characters chemistry to turn into a relationship and I heard they killed off the Black female lead…Again Fox.
So it does not surprise me that Fox searchlight films would find a black man, accused of raping a white woman, married to a white woman who writes a compelling story about a slave revolt with a white writing partner to invest $20 million to make his film.

I’m sure it will be brilliant.  I mean the trailer brought me to tears.

It’s SO fucked up that Fox Searchlight produced this!!  Yep it’s another slave narrative…yes the slaves revolt…but spoiler alert…they are all killed violently in the end.  And the same organization that calls the Black Lives Matter movement a terrorist organization funded this film about a slave revolt.

What is Fox telling us… go ahead  The Blacks…revolt..we are going to make America Great again…give us a reason to shoot you down.

But Show business is a business.  Whatever makes the white people who control the studios money will be what gets produced.  And they are BRILLIANT at getting all of our money.

And the Birth of a Nation looks like it’s a brilliant film.  But as the hero-worship and the golden pedestal gets built for Nate Parker to stand on while the media works to take him down…don’t get caught up in the simple arguments that will come up.  Some will simply say boycott this rapist!!  Others will say…support the brother they are trying to take down the black man!!

It’s complicated.

Do some research and if you are truly “woke” recognize propaganda and ask WHY.

Why does one particular network only show dark-skinned Black men with white women as love interests?  Why does this network only show Dark Skinned Black Women as single mothers, maids, prostitutes, down trodden blue-collar workers, overweight best friends, sassy home girls who chew gum?

Art does reflect life.  Yep, there are Black Men out there who consider their rite of privilege to be having a white trophy wife and light skinned children living in a white neighborhood to be their american dream.

Yes, there are white women out there who are so amazed that these Black men treat them like goddesses… why not just say yes to the money and the pretty bi racial babies they will bear and enjoy the benefits of wealthy black men and be a trophy wife?

But…I digress.

There are only about 6 Media organizations who control all of what we see in the entertainment industry.  Support the networks who are putting out the programming that is employing Black artists in work that humanizes.

Don’t think that the images that have been shown in our entertainment are not a part of the angry white people who are out there supporting that racist Republican who is running for President.  Fox knows EXACTLY what it is doing and what it takes to control the minds of its minions.

But guess what…there ARE networks who see the financial value of producing humanizing work.  In my opinion, The Disney corporation has turned out to be the largest ally in the Corporate Entertainment industry to women, People of Color and the LGBT communities.

Even here in NYC in my little world as an actor, the majority of TV and Film work I have been cast in, has been on ABC and on films produced by the Disney corporation. Viola Davis’ production company  JuVee Producions  is backed by ABC which is owned by Disney.  ABC has created a strong relationship with Shonda Rimes production company Shondaland which has been creating humanizing awesome stories for over 10 years on ABC.  Disney also owns the Lifetime network which has programming for and by women that is producing shows featuring diverse casts of women characters telling all kinds of compelling, amazing, and terrifying  stories.

As the fall rolls in and the racial debates begin to flow around The Birth of A Nation begin to spew… remember  when it comes to race in America…we have always been living duality.  There have always been blacks and whites who are in relationships each other while  at the same time being prejudiced and racist towards one another.  This is America.





UPDATE October 12

Over Columbus Day weekend I saw the movie. Here’s my problem…if you are making a bio-pic about Nat Turner’s life….shouldn’t there be some actual FACTS in the bio-pic?  The movie makes it seem as if Nat Turner chose revolt only after his wife was raped which is a total lie.  This movie minimizes the activism of the black women of the time and is propaganda to boost the ego of a Nate Parker, a troubled black man with great connections.

This film was not good.  It was boring and not historically factual.  There was some good acting in it and creative use of the camera, but I now understand why FOX chose this film.

Pick a troubled Black Man, currently married to a white woman accused of  raping another white woman with his white best friend to create a lie about a slave revolt with an race battle that never happened in reality that ends with all the black men getting shot and Nat Turner getting lynched.  What a great black man to put forward in the media to use as an example for right wing pundits while at the same time squashing any protests about how blacks are portrayed in the media.

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137 Black women Died today. Anyone Care? GirlTrek Cares.


137 black women die every day in America due to heart disease.  That’s more than gun violence or AIDS yet we don’t hear about this in the news. Can you imagine the uproar if news came out that 137 white women a day died because of…anything?  And people question the phrase…”Black Lives Matter”.

137 Black women died today in America due to heart disease.

I think of my family.  My Father’s side is from the US Virgin Islands and my Mom’s side is from South Carolina.  It’s fascinating to see that the women on my Dad’s side live into their 90’s and beyond and die of old age.  The women on my mom’s side… die in their late 50’s and early 60’s. Except my Mom.  She’s going strong.  When I look at the life paths of my Mom’s sisters, they left the south for New York City and then both ended up living in Newark, New Jersey.  My Mom went to New York City for a short time but then met my Dad and he was in the Military so they lived in Europe and Asia through the 60’s and early 70’s  then they settled in the Suburbs of Northern VA.

Our lifestyle and diet were much different than my relatives who lived in Newark.  We did not have to deal with the stress of crime, low income housing, pollution and lack of access to healthy food.  Both my Aunts on my Mother’s side died in their early 60’s.

  • Only 36% of African American women  know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.
  • Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 48.3% have cardiovascular disease. Yet, only 14% believe that cardiovascular disease is their greatest health problem.

We are dying of broken hearts and we don’t even realize it.

We have the power to change the statistics.  30 minutes 6 days a week will improve health, help relieve depression, strengthen the body and so much more.

When you look at the media…nobody seems to care about Black Women.  It’s like the media goes out of it’s way to show us as victims or perpetrators.  They love to show Black women being mean, sassy, fat single and miserable.  They make fun of us and call us unattractive in any way possible.  At the same time, society mines Black women for our creativity, spirit, music…while 137 of us die every day from heart disease.

Let’s change those numbers.  “GirlTrek is a movement powered by the love of Black Women” Vanessa Garrison Co founder GirlTrek.

It’s free to join and we encourage women to take control of their health and wellness by making a pledge to walk 30 minutes a day 6 days a week.  GirlTrek helps the process by attracting magnificent organizers to lead weekly group walks in cities all over the USA.

GirlTrek is about Black Women saving the lives of  Black Women by taking the time to practice radical acts of self care.  Move the body every day.

137 Black women will die today of heart disease.

Take the GirlTrek Pledge TODAY and let’s make that statistic…disappear.


CLICK HERE to take the GirlTrek Pledge



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The Black Girl Justice League…You in?



Actions speak louder than words.  One person taking positive action creates a ripple effect of positivity that can move mountains.

Each month in GirlTrek we have a different focus.  This month is Activism August…  Co founders Morgan & Vanessa say it best:

“50,000 Black women will walk to the polls together on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th. It’s called The Black Girl Justice League!

1.  I’m in!  How do I join? 

Start training! Get your weight up! Before Election Day, walk 50 miles, register 50 new voters or host a pop up table the weekend August 18th – that’s the day women got the right to vote in 1920! Some women – in true superhero style – will do all three! #BlackGirlJusticeLeague?

2.  How will you know I’m training?

Use GirlTrek.org to log your walks and register voters; Keep us updated on social media using #BlackGirlJusticeLeague!


3.  How do I host a walk on Election Day?

It’s easy! Post your own event here. The name of your walk should be: “[Insert Name of Polling Location] Justice Crusade,” for example Drew Middle School Justice Crusade.  To find your voting location, click here.


4.  Can anyone host a walk?

Yes, anyone who is organizing for the #BlackGirlJusticeLeague – that includes YOU as soon as you start training!


5.  How do I find a walk near me?

Click here and type in your zip code. If you don’t see a walk to your polling place, start training and create one!


6.  How can I help?

Get involved.  1) Promise to train.  2) Register new voters at GirlTrek.org. 3) Host a walk with your neighbors to your local polling place.


7.  What else can I do?

Forward this email to 3 people you know. Help us spread the word.


8.  What is the Black Girl Justice League?

A campaign started by two friends – Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison – to increase voter turnout on Election Day.  This campaign is “powered by GirlTrek,” a national nonprofit that they started to promote walking and self-care. There are already 68,0000 Black women who walk with GirlTrek everyday.


9.  Who are we voting for?

You choose. This is not a partisan campaign. We are not lobbying for a party. Volunteers should not wear candidate buttons or stickers on their GirlTrek gear.


10.  Who do I contact for help?

Tech problems? Media requests? General questions or ideas? Send an email to info@girltrek.org and we’ll get your question to the right person on our team.”

So…get off the computer and start training.

You ready?









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Alright. Yea, It’s gonna be alright


I’ve lived long enough to have the desire to give up.   I could have stayed silent.  Nah, I couldn’t.   What fascinates me about this whole phone camera documenting the shootings of unarmed black people  phenomenon is still, how white people feel the need to “educate” black people.

The “all lives matter’ and “blue lives matter’ hashtags are perfect examples of the extreme egoism of  so many white people on this planet.  Well meaning white liberals are getting on my last nerves these days too.   I was one of two black women at a party recently and one white guy who was of Jewish descent (he told me this)  had to tell me, as we spoke about police violence,  within like 20 minutes of our conversation that his best childhood friend was black.

Okay, when a white person tells me this… what am I supposed to do with this information?   This other guy at the party, who is married to some upper class black woman was “whitesplaning” to me why  he thought #blacklivesmatter should be something that is more palatable to white people…. #blacklivesmattertoo.

I want to scream…FUCK YOU.  #blacklivesmatter is specifically doing what it is supposed to be doing.  The BRILLIANT black women Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi who created the #blacklivesmatter movement have wisdom and a strategy and are engaging the country exactly how we need to move forward in order to make change happen.  But I did not scream FUCK YOU to either of them.  I monitored my mind and thought before I spoke and ended the conversation tactfully when I could take no more.

I’m noticing when I’m in the room with a group of mixed race people talking about these issues often times, particularly if the group is not facilitated well, the whites tend to focus on their guilt and shame and their desire to gain some sort of absolution from the black people in the group.

On Facebook I’ve seen comments by white women who have black male partners lamenting about worrying bout the possibility of their husbands not coming back to them, without a word of empathy for the Black Women whose lives are being decimated by not only crime but police violence towards their men.   Don’t worry “Becky”  your professional black husband may face some uncomfortable situations, but once the police see he’s upper middle class, he will get away with paying a fine rather than paying with his life.

What about not making it about your damn personal fear and developing some empathy and compassion for the black women who are ACTUALLY losing their husbands to violence and are raising their children as single moms who have to deal with systemic racism. While you ride bikes in the park with your investment banker black husband.

It’s always got to be…about taking care of  white people’s feelings their sensitivities.  I’ve tagged out of taking care of “white others” and am committed to focusing on my personal self-care and the self-care of other black women.

Cause, you see, the black men that are being shot by police are the black men who are husbands and boyfriends of black women who are attempting to keep their communities together.  The black men that are being shot by police are the urban black men who stay in their communities and are trying to build black families not the black men who leave black communities and reject black women.  Yes all black people of all classes face the stresses of racism in this country. Black people hurt just like anyone else.  We do NOT have a higher tolerance of pain and suffering.

Everyone has a choice and freedom to marry whoever they want and live wherever they want.  And at the same time, when all the best resources are mined out of black communities how do we expect black communities to thrive?  Face it..our society still is a male based society.  Strong Two family incomes that provide homeownership are the backbone to building welalth in communities.  Black communities are being mined of their potential wealth.

But at the end of the day….it’s gonna be alright.

I used to feel really judgmental about Christianity and the black church and the Black Muslim organizations.  Even though religion is not my personal thing, I’m grateful to the peace it brings so many black women. These religions, (even though they can be homophobic and sexist) are, in terms of racial identity, safe havens from a major part of America  that is harsh and unwelcoming.   It’s interesting how black men have been systematically targeted since slavery and black families have been purposely removed from communities in order to weaken black culture.

But you know what?  We are not weak  and like Kendrick Lamar’s song we  gonna be alright.

The thing that this new awakening of social justice is not taking into account is that Black Women have been dealing with this trauma ever since we were stolen from the African Continent and brought to America in chains.  It took strength determination fortitude and grit to just exist  and we did not only exist, we made everything out of nothing while others profited from our pain over and over and over again. Things got better because of our actions.  Harriet Tubman. Ida B. Wells.  Fannie Lou Hammer.   Black Women are forces for good.

As black people are at the same time victimized, talked down to,  sexualized, objectified, condescended to, feared, revered, and considered to be inferior by various groups….we know who we are and we also know how to live free.  We know how to not just survive…we know how to thrive and we are not going anywhere.  We look to our diverse forms of healing and out of these challenges we will continue to rise, connecting to the happiness that always resides within our souls that no one on this planet can ever take away.

At the same time…there are TONS of strong quiet black families who are thriving all over America.  Our communities will never disappear.  We just need to believe that we can and help one another to rise.

  • “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way. ” – Nikki Giovanni
  • “There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – Nikki GiovanniAlright?  Alright.  It’s gonna be alright.






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