Rest in power Stanlee Allyn Holbrook

Stanlee’s death affects me deeply because so many black women and mothers aren’t given any love, support or breaks in this cruel world. We are left to our own everything. I think of my mother who had died an emotional death that she never recovered from long before she died physically.

My heart is broken today. A young mother of three completed suicide in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania two days ago. We all have a painful tune we carry. No one is exempt from a pain like this, the thought, a memory.

I took a mental health first aid course earlier this year. Most of the people in the class including myself used the term ‘committed suicide’ when recalling stories. However, as the instructor described that using the verb ‘commit’ when followed by an act is generally reserved for actions that many people may view as sinful or immoral. Someone commits burglary or murder or rape or perjury or adultery or crime or something else bad.  Suicide is sad, for those left behind yes, but the person who completes suicide is not committing a crime or sin. Rather the act of suicide almost always is the product of mental illness, intolerable stress, or trauma.

Though taboo we need more love in this world. More love. ❤️

#afrikanface #blacklivesmatter #blackmothersmatter #mentalhealthisreal #noshameinmentalillness #ripstanleeallynholbrook #weneedmorelove

Calm is a whole new vibe when you ‘buy black’

Calm is a whole vibe when you #buyblack. ⁣😍

As a black Afrikan entrepreneur myself 🙏🏾 @odundefestival for the abundance and having us all in one space! We need more.⁣ 🖤

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Black Afrikans. We are the miracle! @odundefestival always fruitful and reminiscent of home.⁣

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Shout out @thecarterbrand_ & @dohanyc for some of the dopest, quality black T-shirts I purchased in a minute! And the customer service is something to write home about. 🙌🏾

And to the beautiful energy the river walk is. Spiritual white for ancestors. Intentions. Manifestation of love. All that love in one space. Shared.

—TheeAmazingGrace

⁣#afrikanface #ancestors #ancestortones #blacklove  #blackjoy #blackeconomics   #blackownedbusiness #blackwealthmatters #buyblackowned #calmingcorner #community #culture #culturevibes #girlrillavintage #happynewyear #healblack #mende #myson #odundefestival #odende2019 #orishas #oshun #philadelphia #offering #riverwalk #roothealer #sierraleone #theeamazinggrace #three #tree #westafrican #yoruba

I’m Sunflowers Sista By TheeAmazingGrace

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Imagine pullin’ into an empty parking space 

and totalin’ your car

Well das Me… 

Wrecked. Totaled. 

This elephant, remembers everything in its room. 

Feels more like I been beaten. Mercilessly., 

Wit’ wooden bats. By vengeful 

spirits from my ancestors past lives. 

I’m aging. 

So my bones done become more rigid. 

I fracture more easily. 

Bruise more easily. 

Tears well up. 

I cry out more easily. 

Smells. Sounds. Buck toothed smiles. Flamboyant death drops. 

All ignite my senses. 

And my soul becomes clean when I cry. 

‘Cause crying is one of my healing rituals. 

Yet, ain’t no healing this shit. 

I’m exactly where my brother left me. 

On that uncommonly, cold, November 26th, dark street. 

Had just spent all day working,  

only to get home to cook food for a tortured friend. 

Dished out larger slices of homemade sweet potato pie. 

How bitter the taste.

I remember, as we sipped apple cider along side it. 

How? 

How bout the scene was loose with change. 

And

Fresh newspapers strewn about the floor. 

I can still smell the dead trees, 

the moment they told me my baby brother had died. 

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Ran ALL out of myself. 

Slid cross the floor on coupon adds. 

Jumpin’ out of my skin wasn’t far enough 

to get away from this. 

The silence was so DAMN loud. 

Louder than my screams and desperate PLEASE. 

PLEASE! DON’T SAY THIS IS TRUE.

And the silence played tricks. 

The silence was so heartless. 

The silence acted like a fuck boy. 

And wailing. 

Wailing that hard only made my nose bleed. 

Snot, mixed with blood m, and tears, froze to my face. 

The mood was below 20 degrees. 

No comfort. No crab legs. No fried wings. 

No whisky. No heating pads. No yams. No deep dick. 

No coochie grinds. No meditation. No cunnilingus. 

No flailing arm dances. No deep talks. No nothing. 

Not even self-soothing. No selfies. No usies.  

No god. No nothing could prepare me for losing my brother. 

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My baby brother.

Second born. 

My sunflower. 

Smile as big as a sunflower. 

And he loved to eat the seeds. 

And I love him beyond forever. 

Sunflowers senseless loss of life. 

Bullet to head while he sat in the

comfort of his own bed. 

And I remember the blood on his pillow. 

And how I clinched it. 

And tho’ he’s right here. 

And won’t leave from right here. 

I still feel pain right here. 

Hard to breathe sometimes. 

Replaying his last words 

as he looked to the edge of his bed, “Mama.” “Mama?“

Thank you mama, for waiting. 

And tastin’ his ashes pushed me to the edge of space. 

Made us feel close again. 

And I don’t wish for time y’all. 

I wish for the world to love as hard as we loved 

with no healthy examples of how to love.  

How our love language STRETCHED. 

IS etched into my skin, over deep contusions LEFT BEHIND.

Embedded beneath my bare breast bone, on the left side. 

How I cant tell our scars apart or our sleepless melodies. 

However, the wind grows me just a little, each day. 

My big sunshine face, travels in the wind. 

My Phoenix arose from the dust. 

My baby brother flows in my DNA. 

He is in the water too. 

Mama Oshun. Bless baby brother with your rivers honey. 

Mama Yemayah. Please nestle us both, in the safety of your oceans back bone. 

Thank you for your sanctity. 

For being a home. 

Always.

—TheeAmazingGrace

I’m Sunflowers Sista shareable audio with music by The Nest Collective’s Walk to Tawaret. Thank you for listening.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1v1Jho0Vm5x3B6sWqUgdJsMUMdEYHs4KL/view?usp=sharing

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Culturally Rich Things To Do In Lancaster PA This Summer That I’m Involved!

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The Cite Aka Mic Bleed

For the community and spectators who seek an enriching experience “lyrics appreciation” #micbleed aims to provide a safe space for thorough entertainment complete with cultural purpose and vibrant energy.

For the artist/ performers cultivating their crafts the cite’ #micbleed aims to provide a safe space for thorough performance where artists are encouraged and inspired to present their finest visuals, truest audios and most pure spirituals. #ayeg #lyricsappreciation #micbleed #openmic #pavaartists #pavaagallery

Follow @pavaagallery @travelingfam on Instagram                                                    Visit their website for more: pavaagallery.com

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Imani Edu-Tainers African Dance Company

Imani and featured invited guests present an evening reflecting traditional West African culture. Two exciting 45-minutes segments rely on traditional drum, dance, and song to represent significant contributions of West African culture to American society

Visit their website for more: http://www.imaniafricandance.org

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Music Friday

Pavaa Gallery will be one of the “Music Friday” locations for summer 2018. Starting each 3rd Friday in June, DJ Gerri will be spinning the best in afro/world beat/drum/dance from 7 to 10 PM. No cover! 21+ BYOB. #artgallery #culture #dance #gerrimccritty #music #musicfriday #musicforeveryone #pavaartists #pavaagallery #shoplocal #thingstodoinlancaster #632nchristianstlancasterpa

Follow @pavaagallery on Instagram                          Visit their website for more: pavaagallery.com

Follow my personal pages @girlrillavintage and @girlrillavintagewears on Instagram

Condiment Aisles Aren’t Even Safe for Black Folk

This black woman has had enough of hateful ass white people. Standing in the condiment aisle at GIANT Grocery Store on Columbia. You know how we sort of get stuck in one place (descisons, decisions)? Several folks mirrored the same. His very old, ignorant ass shuffled back and forth several times. I noticed him for that reason. He stopped next to me and said, “OK, what gives? What are you doing here? You don’t have a basket or anything.” I’m like huh? He repeated. I said, “Too bad it’s not obvious.” He went on, “You should at least have a basket.” I asked, “Does it look like I’m in fucking captivity?!” He walked off mumbling “testy” “get a basket then”. He complained to whoever would listen.

Instantly, “I’m the angry black woman” when he racially accosted me in the condiment aisle. A young, white guy told him that he was out of line because he didn’t say that to anyone else. I thought, of course he didn’t say that to anyone else because no one else was black. No one else, he could use his false sense of entitlement on. Young guys sentiment wasn’t enough. I wish white folks would call other white folks exactly what they’re when that happens, blatantly racist. #racismwillnotwin #thisisamerica

-Gracie

Art Always Finds It’s Way Home

I remember my brotha @phototheft calling my home a mini art museum because of the introspection, the look, the way it felt. He went on to call me Ogeechie, as if there was something special about my past. Made me nostalgic of my college days, the way people seemed enamored and terrified of my freedom all at the same time lol! Made me feel that perhaps I was in fact born fully realized after all lol! Art that is meant for me always finds its way home. Meet mama Kenya and mama Bessie Smith two of my newest. Both wildly vintage. Both starkly beautiful. Timeless. Women crush. Both thrifty in price. Having been a conscious collector for about 25-years, I collect art for the way it makes me feel and for the stories behind it.

BF520EC0-E263-4AB1-A925-681D81E821A1.jpegMama Kenya…

Came to me from an online resource in rural York County PA about a month ago. The person that owned the piece of art spoke of it as an inanimate object that had no meaning or value. Said that it had been in his basement covered in cobwebs & dust for 35-years. He continued to share a story about his girlfriend back then that worked as a missionary in Nairobi Kenya, East Afrika. He described how cool it was when she came back with all these sculptures, the shield and a spear. As you likely can guess the relationship didn’t last and in time the shield aka Mama Kenya was forgotten. I asked him why NOW did he want to get rid of the art piece. He told me that it frankly didn’t go with his current motif, plus he was married with children, LOL!

It’s funny, in a weird way, the way it all happened because he had no way of knowing the cultural significance the “dusty” old shield from Nairobi Kenya meant to me. How, my life’s work is literally to love and liberate my Afrikan cultural identity and those attached to it. How, I had just completed my Afrikan DNA test through africanancestry.com, the day before. How, I was in the process of making Afrikan inspired shields for Imani Edu-Tainers African Dance Company’s 23rd Annual recital coming up in June 2018. When we made the exchange of money and goods I beamed inside and hurried into my car before he could change his mind. I thought, what a gift I was just granted. He thanked me for being the one. I welcomed mama Kenya home!

Mama Bessie…

She appeared to be waiting for me at the corner of Woodland Ave and Chester Ave. My family and I went over to the Uhuru Flea Market in Philadelphia that day, the first one of the year, last month. There she was, a profile, beautiful like the black behind a starry nighttime sky, leaned up against an old dilapidated vendor table. She was the first portrait in a stack of about 10 other portraits and profiles. I fell in love with how she wore Afrika on her skin and in the depths of her eyes.

Interestingly, I remember learning about her in 4th grade at Samuel B. Huey  Elementary School in Philadelphia and again while in undergraduate school at Lincoln University in PA, but never took the time to really know her story, her music, her legacy. That night I submerged myself in her brief bio on Wikipedia. I gleamed at the way she lived such a vibrant and full life. I cried at the way her life ended at age 43. How racial discrimination of the time lead to her death. How racist white doctors and ambulance drivers refused her entry into their white hospital near by. How the image of  her broken body going into shock from the blood loss. How time wasn’t on her side and they left her there to die in route to the black hospital, hours away.

I was moved by ancestors to smudge. I smudged everything. All of the air, her picture, mama Kenya, mama Bessie’s terryfing final moments. I smudged it all away and asked for their permission to uplift their memories. Their vibrant memories. I believe the acceptance came when the wind blew calm and warm.

I’m always grateful  to love my people through all of our stages through life, death and in-between. To hold space for these ancestral artifacts in my home and in my heart is more than art collecting, its my birth right of passage, an honor and a privilege.

In awe of their stories.

-TheeAmazingGrace

 

#afrikanface #africanart #artistsoninstagram #bessiesmith  #girlrillavintage #mycollections #ngunihide #uhurufleamarket #vintage #warriorsheild #wcw