I’m Sunflowers Sista By TheeAmazingGrace

IMG_9524

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. 

3B480B18-B919-420F-ADDB-1853D02B9EFF

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. 

9CC14283-5557-4B4C-95A5-DF8FE29A3E34

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

21125567_10159342245675284_1119792525957514212_o

 

 

 

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

F6CBC45B-A4B1-43D5-A95F-AEBF4E2FA0D1

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

D36D035B-E586-469C-B50E-ADE98F93C88B

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

D3839C92-6B82-4BD7-93DC-856C8FD23EB7

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

Absolute Elswhere: A Creative Collaboration with Gail Gray

d75eed73-3084-4683-9646-4aef8d0555d7.jpeg

Absolute Elsewhere by Gail Gray

Had the honor of being one of 12 local artists asked to represent the great mosaic of our community by offering five-minute presentations of our work that woul ultimately build on a single theme captured in each of Gail’s paintings. 

I was assigned the painting, Absolute Elsewhere. I was to interpret it. Here is my word interpretation.

“Come here! Hot! The dusk is asleep on our breast bones. Sweat. Heat. Warmth, like a mothers incubation. Safe. Touch. Sounds. Bells. Hear the bells and the drums. The drums are the sweetest heartbeat. Home sweet home. Echoes in the deep, blood-orange. Feel the sun, see it bright. The scene is set. We journey back, to where my friends live, in remote, Dellol Ethiopia, in Northeast Afrika, one of the hottest places on earth. Behold the mountains. Witness the mountains. Behold the sculpted, asymmetrical mountains. The sun is the backdrop to the mountains. The shadows climb. Journey home, to wildly staccato rhythms of Afrikan drums by Archie Shepp.”

To think is a privilege: Happy birthday Dr. King

5A0B555E-173E-4A91-B411-E097E96D8E61

There has never been a time I’ve stopped thinking. I may think more or think less, but I do. I intuit how not to overburden. My nerves. Bones. Eyelids. To think is essential. And most times a powerful privilege. Keeps me alive. Like the heart beat. Thankful to one radical thinker Dr. King. Your contribution is priceless. For complaining when it hurt. For thinking the change. For denting the backbone of a system. For the will. Happy birthday! 🎉

Freedom Is Not Free

We all know that during Jim Crow, we could pick up food at places that served whites, but couldn’t dine in. How racism demanded that we be served separately in every since of the word. I recall hearing stories from my grandma about how she had to carry toilet paper, spoons, dishes, ketchup & hot sauce on road trips in the 50’s. As a child, having lived with gmom I remember those same customs spilling over into our lives when we traveled in the 80’s (eating in our car, peeing on the side of the rd etc). I never understood why we never went in, but now I do. Shoutout to Martin Luther King Jr. for being one of our ancestors that paved the way for us to sit in & enjoy delicious food in public restaurants like the one in this throwback 📷! #martinlutherkingjr #freedomisntfree #deliberateandunafraid #girlrillavintage

D4E2A331-D4CB-4463-B6B3-AEE669E0E0C2

My Sweethoney Glistening

Quote

“It’s a hell of an honor supporting self reliant, little black girls and boys. Those who love themselves, or need extra support, but allowing them to love themselves nonetheless. Building self-confident, self-assured, aware, #blackchildren without fear, without burdening them with the worlds problems, or with our own needs and problems, without expecting them to fulfill all the things we didn’t, is a feat, that we’re working through. Shout out to all of the beautiful, black mamas and papas (to include loved ones of my own, doing it right now), raising RAD ASS, capable ass, black humans! It can be a difficult road, yet it’s not an impossible journey. Keep up the fantastic work. You got support! We got this!”

Had the privilege of spending a few hours with my 7-year old goddaughter, this afternoon. Her mother went on a job interview (that she scored, on the spot, by the way 🙌🏾)! I was asked to spend time with her until mama finished. We went to my goddaughter’s favorite store, or perhaps, favorite for most children her age, Toys-R-Us. As we walked through the maze of toys, she kept asking for things that I didn’t have the money to buy lol! Its a thing convincing a 7-year old that you’re not rich and barely have money to pay your rent, but knowing she’s still a child I decided to contribute to her experience the best way I could. I snappped photos of all of the items that me, I mean, she wanted, so we could show them to her mother (a big kid like me can dream right 😜 lol?!) She told me that I could show her mama the pictures, but that Santa 🎅🏾  was really the one to tell, since he did all the hard work on Christmas. I didn’t want to burst her bubble about Santa not being real, plus she was at a vibratory frequency, so elevated that I didn’t want to destroy a moment so pure.

I listened instead of talking at her. It seemed therapeutic for us both, the experience of walking through what I call a real live toy jungle #toysrus. We used the time to catch on previous weeks. She was rambunctious, yet mildly subdued while showing me her favorite toys, behaving almost well enough, so that I might buy her something (wishful thinking kid lol)! At any rate, she especially liked the #shopkins, some grocery store item toys and other funny things like that. She told me about doing well in school. I asked, what her favorite part was. She replied, “I loooooooooove reading #chapterbooks!” I asked, why? She told me a story about being able to read them really fast and that she likes all the big words. She went on to tell me that she wants a hundred chapter books to read. Talk about AMBITIOUS, you go girl 🙌🏾🤓🤪!

We walked around most of the store before my feet started to hurt lol! Before leaving, she suggested that we go over to the dolls section. Part of me was nervous because from my view, there was little representation of any dolls that looked like us. I had to trust her though. It’s something about trusting our children in their ability to lead, at least in that moment. Immediately, she gravitated to the few dolls that looked like us #blackandbrown. I was like, I’ll be damned lol! Not that I was surprised-it was more a refreshing feeling, if that makes since? I was beyond happy to know that she was intuitively paying attention! She asked me to take a picture of the first doll she liked. Talk about honored, I was! Photo below

BF16462C-FA75-49C2-9BAD-1C2BBE8BE165

I captured the brief moment on video, perhaps two seconds too late because she raved on and on about this particular doll, or maybe I was right on time because she still got the point. The moment she chose a doll that had the same hair texture and complexion as her. She didn’t shy away from the familiar. She didn’t shy away from how she really felt. She was in awe of this inanimate objects reflection of herself! It was so much bigger than that. She exclaimed, she’s so pretty!” Here is the short video link from my Instagram page @girlrillavintage ⬇️

She went on to choose, several more dolls of color that she liked. She payed a compliment to her mother by showing me a doll that she said, “looked pretty like her mama”! She asked me to take more photos of dolls that she wanted for Christmas. Here are some of the photos I captured in those moments. I’m so pleased at how at age seven, she hasn’t yet been damaged by our society’s anti-black messages in that way. How inspiring it is to witness her mother, my best friend, raising, three, thriving black daughters. And to witness how the women in her family encouraged her sense of self (from her Nana, to aunties, to her older sister) all who wear their hair #natural and funky other styles!

36C7B71B-4A3D-4F52-89EE-05ADB7F4F56610DCEBA0-74E6-4BA2-9896-D80CB571C0982C709EF1-A996-4B62-ADC4-137E67A6DCC5

What an awesome experience to have had with her! How, I used the opportunity to empower the power within her. How, she sought a reflection of herself in that store. How, I watched her #fallinlove with her beautiful #afrikanface, despite, us being underrepresented in that moment. How AWESOME, witnessing her compliment the black girls in her life. How, she recognized the beautiful familiar in those dolls, and embraced the same within herself. God-mommy win of the year lol! Safe return to the little black girl inside me, living vicariously through her, and all those cool #toys lol! And although I never got to be a playful, little #blackgirl like her, look at how beautiful it is that she gets to be. Sweet honey, glistening! 🍯 ⭐️ 💫 🌟

 

Oh yes and after I showed her mother all the photos and video, she urged me to share this with the world on social-media because it made her proud too, so here we are with permission lol!

Warmest,

#TAG AKA #THEEAMAZINGGRACE AKA #GRACEBERRY #DJBOODESTANK AKA #SLEEPY AKA #MIKE AKA #BROWNSKINSKINNYKID

To the Maia Campbell’s of the World, We love you!

IMG_5349We always have the opportunity to value someone in a low place. A friend and I met a gentleman of #afrikanfacedescent yesterday who was visibly troubled. He stumbled through each step like a baby first learning to walk. His hands and arms were badly swollen and bruised. His shoulder was injured, covered in a thick, bloody gauze. His eyes were glazed over. His clothes were disheveled, draping over his frail bones. He looked fucked up! As my friend and I approached we asked how we could help him. He could barely speak. We probed until finally he agreed to some water. I ran to my house to grab something cold. It was hot out there! We encouraged him to seek medical attention, but he refused. He told us that he was a accosted by the police the night before and all he wanted was to go home. He never told us where home was. But we stayed with him, listened to him, put water on his neck, showed him that he matters. He finally got the strength to continue on to his destination. He reached to give us hugs and thanked us for our help and told us he would never forget us. His eyes became brighter just for a moment. We embraced him, tight because healing is what he needs. He might’ve been on #dope but none of that mattered. My mother was #crackaddicted and didn’t survive. Human beings are spiritual beings and they need love. Sending all my love to #maiacampbell who needs all the love she can receive.

Warmest,

Grace