This is America

A while back I made a statement on one of my social media accounts stating to be aware of those people who are “Pro-Fetus but Anti-child.”

This particular quote comes from Bakari Sellers, an African-American attorney, political commentator, and politician.

First, let’s be really clear here. I’m neither pro-life or pro-choice. This is a hard fence to straddle because what it all boils down to is what a woman decides to do with her body and what’s inside of her. Women have abortions for many different reasons and quite frankly I don’t think that white males (or any male) should be telling women what they should or should not be doing with their bodies. But these particular people like to be in control so therefore they like to put laws into place that will somehow stroke their little egos. Continue reading

The Ten Commandments of The Black Church

Growing up in a black church, lets just say it was an experience!  Therefore, I’ve created the Ten Commandments of the Black Church.  These will help you if you’re ever visiting a black church and believe me, they will apply to you at some point in the service…….(study to show thyself approved).

1. Thou shall put up one finger and tiptoe out of service if you’re leaving early.

2. Thou shall bring a snack. Continue reading

Itoja’s Top 5 Blogs of 2018

Hey Friends!

For starters, check out my shirt in the featured picture.  I ran across it online and I just had to order it.  It’s such a conversation starter; with those who know I’m a blogger and also to those who have no clue!

So when I’m wearing the shirt, I typically respond with, yes, I am a blogger plus so much more!  As you all know, I recently celebrated my one year blogging anniversary (you can find that post HERE); this past year has been a blast and I’ve posted a ton of blogs! 🙂  Today, I’m sharing my top 5 blogs of the year with you.  It’s my year-end wrap-up!

At Last….My Love has come along! Here I share my last blog before getting married.  I also share some of the anxieties I was having as we got closer to the big day!

The Black community needs therapy too! Therapy is something that is not often talked about in the black community–Here I share why it IS needed.

My Top 5 Mystery Podcast I love Podcast. It literally helps my work day go by faster. Here are my top 5 mystery podcast. I can’t wait to share more with you in 2019.

5 reasons to read “The Face of Expression” By Aaron Woodson My first book review. Find out why you should read “The Face of Expression.”

I Have Beef With Our Black Brothers Earlier in the year I spoke about why I was upset with Black men. (FYI: Meek Mill, whom I reference in the post is no longer in jail).

Were one of these blogs on your top favorite list?  If you have your own personal favorite, be sure to share it below.

Also, share your favorite podcast–I’m eager to listen.

Be sure to stay tuned for what’s to come from Itoja in 2019.  I can’t believe this year has gone by so fast.  Love what you’re reading?  Click the SUBSCRIBE button and follow me on Social Media!

Your Virtual BFF,

design

 

How “woke” are you?

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.

The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.

The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” ~ Malcolm X

Just how “woke” are you?  The term “being woke” stems from the ideology of being aware and informed from a sociological aspect.  Particularly in reference to the black culture.

Many will claim that they are “woke” or “woke-ish” – if you want to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

However, I’m starting to question one’s ability to be “woke” when we (myself included) tend to put people on pedestals as if they could do no wrong.  From preachers to entertainers to family members and so on.  These people are humans just like the rest of us and it’s time to for us to stop being so naïve.

I also question one’s ability to be “woke” when the value of black females is not a concern of the culture or the human race.  We are quick to cover and defend African-American men but we do not do the same for African-American women.  For decades R. Kelly has had inappropriate relationships with black women and young girls and nothing has been said.  The culture has ignored allegations because we don’t want to bring another “Brother” down, BUT on the flip side Kelly is abusing African American women and no one is on their side.  Instead, you’re continuously going to his concerts and throwing panties on the stage.

Black people stood beside OJ Simpson like they’ve never stood beside anyone else before and we all know OJ is a murderer.  Let’s stop sugar-coating crimes and violations just because it’s a black man that’s committing them.  Let’s stop acting like certain people, because of their public figure status, aren’t subject to doing wrong.  Some of us have yet to separate Bill Cosby from his CHARACTER on the Cosby Show.  I’ll be the first to admit that at one point, I didn’t believe the stories of rape that individuals were coming out with.  But after a while I had to go deep down inside to reevaluate myself and my thoughts.  How could I take away someone else’s truth?  I only knew him based off of his CHARACTER that he portrayed on his show.  A person can have the greatest intentions but still do bad.  A person can be a great actor but still a bad person.  Or a great Pastor in the pulpit but a bad person once outside the church double doors.

But furthermore, when was I going to stand up for women?  While I’ve never been raped, I have been in some uncomfortable situations.  I have felt the pressure coming from men on a number of occasions all because they thought they were entitled.  As a mother to a teenage daughter, no longer could I continue to ignore and make excuses for such behavior!

If we’re really “woke”, lets stand for all people no matter race or gender.  Wrong is wrong and right is right.  We have to stop supporting people who takes advantage of the weak, the underdog, and just women in general.

Women should be valued too!

 

design

Have you been to the underground?

Knowing your history is important.  Whether it’s your families medical history, your credit history, or the history of your ancestors–when you are in the “know” you’re allowing yourself the opportunity for growth.  In addition to growth, you’re preparing yourself for any obstacles that may come your way in advance.

This is why I’m not quite sure why it is being asked that the black culture should forget about slavery and forget about the many roadblocks that black people have had to endure over time.  I ranted about this a little on Facebook but figured this was the better platform to vocalize my opinion.

Let’s face it, we are ONLY 54 years out of segregation.  Meaning, my living parents and grandparents have all lived through a divided world and are all here to share their stories and experiences whenever they feel the need to.  The life of a black person isn’t a made up thriller story that people are fabricating just for the heck of it.  It’s easy for people to say that we (black people) should forget about “color” whenever black people decide to talk about slavery, the past, or racial issues but do you see white people forgetting “color” when blacks are harassed for being in a store for too long?  Or for being killed for having a toy gun?  This all boils down to fairness.  Equality.  Checks and balances.

Just because a person may not experience racism/oppression/bondage (or whatever it is that you have endured) doesn’t mean it is not true.  The fact that people are trying to say that slavery didn’t exist, that it was choice, and that we should forget about it, truly baffles me.

This brings me to the gist of this blog.  While hanging out in Northern Virginia for a quick weekend trip my family and I made our way to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), located in Washington, DC on the National Mall.

img_3976I’ve been itching to make it to this museum since it opened in September of 2016.  I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to get tickets online to no avail.  One year and 7 months later this museum is still one of the hardest museums to get into due to its popularity and the length of time attendees are spending inside.

Instead of attempting to get tickets online, we thought we would just try on a random Saturday since we were already in town.  We arrived at the museum midday with no tickets.  While the men searched for a place to park, the ladies approached the gentleman working and asked if there were any day passes left.  He gave us what he had, which were only three passes but we needed seven!  He advised us to try back in a few hours.  Taking his advice, we took the three tickets that were available and decided to venture around to other museums.  Before heading back to NMAAHC we enjoyed lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl and enjoyed the beautiful Spring day in the States Capital.

Once we returned, they had exactly four passes available.  With those four passes plus the three we had from earlier, we were now ready to go inside!  We took a chance and luckily, it worked in our favor.

So here I was.

Ready and anxious to explore.  I had an idea of what to expect but at the same time I really wasn’t sure.  The museum was ten years in the making.  Not ten years to build but ten years to go from a thought, federal laws, funding, and to finally being able to build.  Another few years would pass as they began construction and collecting over 35,000 artifacts.

We were advised to start from the bottom floor and to work our way up to the higher levels.  I would also advise others to do the same if they are ever visiting the museum; I think that was a great idea looking back.  We all (my family plus other attendees) gathered on a huge elevator and traveled downed to the bottom floor, which is actually underground.  The elevator was glass with a black wall behind it.  As we traveled down to the underground floor we began seeing the years printed on the walls.  The years would scroll down in descending order as if we were going back into time. 1900s, 1800s, 1700s, 1600s, 1500s, 1400s!  Then the elevator stopped.

img_3950.jpgWe were dropped off in slavery.  It was dark and gloomy.  Dark in spirit and dark in light.  The area was tight, which I believe was done on purpose.  As you walked around you felt a sadness all around you.  So many words to read, so many things to see, with a double dose of heartache.  I’d stand there stunned trying to comprehend but really I couldn’t.  I could barely fathom the pain and to think that for hundreds of years MY ancestors had to live through this.

img_3949Slaves were traded for goods. They were beaten and abused and owned by slave masters.  Auctioned off like old cars.  Slaves were not given the privilege to learn how to read or write because slave masters were afraid the slaves would figure out how to escape.  Viewing the shackles and the mistreat that was bestowed upon our ancestors made me feel like I was living in that moment for just a second.  Everything felt ten times more real just by walking through exhibits in a museum.

img_3951Imagine actually living during those times.  Nothing about being a slave was a choice.  When they came over on ships, tied together and malnourished, many didn’t even make it over.  Some jumped off ships as dying was better than having to suffer.  They didn’t know the language and had nothing.  Slave masters left slaves in their wills as if they were pieces of property passed down through the family.

img_3956It was a lot to take in.  So much so, that we chose not see the entire slavery portion of the museum.  We wanted to have the chance to see the other floors within the museum and decided to move out of that era.  We also decided to skip the next floor which was the Jim Crow segregation floor and the Civil Rights era.

We headed our way up to the 70s and 80s.  The era of “I’m Black and I’m Proud.”   We strolled as we “ahhed” in amazement.  The progression that black people had made over the years was substantial.  For once, it felt good to see positive images of the black culture.

img_3970We kept moving up into the 90s and the 2000s steadily progressing but at times feeling like our black culture had become stagnant, again.

We strolled around the sports section…..

Film…..

img_3966-1

Music…..

and just black people at its greatness, in every genre and facet imaginable.

Indeed, the culture has come far.  The museum also highlights President Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States.

img_3964There wasn’t enough time to really take in every aspect of the museum.  We needed more than the 2.5 hours we allotted ourselves.  I’ve read that many people have spent around 8 hours in the museum.  With its own Café, plus a theater, I can see how easily this could happen.

I would advise anyone to visit this museum.  I guarantee you will leave with a different perspective on things.  I remember seeing some white people browsing the museum as I was.  I thought to myself, “maybe they get it.” Maybe they understand the importance of knowing the real story.  No matter your color you should visit this museum and allow it to be educational for you.

img_3962As a proud black woman I realize how far we have come but at the same time I realize the additional steps we must take in order to continue to move forward.  The NMAAHC does a great job of chronologicalling the Aftrican American history.  It is up to all of us to continue to strive for complete freedom.

My heart has been heavy since our museum visit because I just don’t understand why or how individuals could be so ignorant of the black struggle.

img_3958

The term, “started from the bottom; now we’re here” fits the mold of most black people’s life as well as this museum.  Which is why starting from the bottom underground floor and working your way up is key.  And yes, there is a lot of pain associated with those dark days of slavery.  Century after century we’ve taken two steps forward and then are somehow knocked back one.  But one of the greatest assets of black people is that we never give up.  Even when we have to start from the bottom, we make a way out of no way and we rise up!!

 

 All opinions in this post are of my own!

design

My PSA to African Americans

My people, my people!!  I’m tired of shaking my head at you!!!

In the year of 2018, there is no need to have to solicit money via GoFundMe® accounts to fund relatives funerals. I am aware of the price tag that comes with a death of a family member but just in case you were not aware there’s this thing called LIFE INSURANCE. This is an essential for every person in your family. Not only is it an essential it is a necessity.

No person or family deserves the added stress of not being able to afford to bury a family member because a life insurance policy wasn’t in effect. And if a policy doesn’t exist collaborating amongst your family to get the money is better than begging for it through a third-party app or account.

Oh, another thing. Most jobs offer life insurance polices during your duration there. This really is the least that one could do.  Jobs with benefits are important.  I’m just saying.  It’s 2018.  It’s time for us to do better, collectively.

Don’t hate the messenger.  Hate the message and accept that the truth hurts sometimes. Besides a great person leaves an inheritance to his/her children’s children.

design

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player