My Sweethoney Glistening

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“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

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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!

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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

Beyond the Seven Letters In Forever

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I keep pulling memories from my follicles, little bro. Wish you had left here a little easier. A little softer. Calmer. A bit more peace left behind. A little less dramatic. But shit, it wouldn’t be you. You remind me. You remain, the deepest love I’ve ever known. My brother. Missing you on this day of your death. Shoutout, to my loved ones for showing me today! ♥️

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On the eve of your departure, little bro. Post-up In the mirrored halls we’ve spent so much time. Time being #queer #young AND #black lol! I peak over my shoulder, only to see you there. Missing you beyond the 7-letters in #forever. #tribesgiving #belvedere #mybrothersswag #agingmakesmeknowit #magicalspirit

Scalp-Greasing: A Black Hair Ritual

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Greasing or oiling the scalp has historical roots for black Afrikans born in America. In fact as we’ve become more knowledgeable about the benefits of natural oils, scalp oiling has become common practice among people of all ethnicities to maintain healthy hair and scalp. This entry will highlight how it relates directly to the women in the #afrikanface show and to people of Afrikan descent. During enslavement, we no longer had access to #palmoil that we used in #afrika to care for our hair, so we used other oil-based products like #lard #butter #crisco to condition and soften our hair. Scalp greasing is a ritual.

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Dr. Kari explains perfectly, “The days of washing our hair at the kitchen sink, detangling in the bathroom, perhaps blow drying, and spending time on your mom’s living room floor on a pillow, nestled between her legs for that routine scalp greasing. It was a ritual that, no matter how busy life got, was NOT forgone. Part by part, inch by inch, your scalp was doused in a “miracle” grease”…

Scalp time was our love time (I wrote a poem about this). It was a time to bond, for mama to lay open her hands souls to literally groom you. It seemed almost therapeutic for both of us (even when my hair was tangled, still a tender headed ass), the way she would place a dollop of grease on the back of her hand, comb, then grease, then part, then grease some more, then plat or braid. The jewel was how she managed to have full fledged conversations, sip beer, and brushed my baby hair all fancy, adding her finishing touch. Those were the days, nights, afternoons I still long for today. Come to the show to see how the hair ritual unfolds!

Warmest,

Thee Amazing Grace B

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You Never Have To Prove Your Way

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#wcw. You never have to prove your way into anyone’s life, they just have to trust you that’s all. My mother was never one to prove anything, even when all the stakes were high and odds against her. Even through her addiction, the abuse, and disappointment I learned to trust her. She was the first one in this world that I ever had to trust. I learned to trust the parts of her process that counteracted her addiction, the visceral #spiritmama that birthed me, born me & raised me up. I remember the moment she stopped fighting to keep us although much damage had been done. It was the proudest and most painful part of growing up. I know that she cared more deeply for us than this life flesh could ever show. The day I learned to trust my mother was the day she learned to trust herself. #restinpeacemama #wcwmama #restwell #gonebeforetime #trust #girlrillavintage #tag #theeamazinggrace

Embracing My Ugly

Red Foxx said, “Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone”. Had someone recently ask me, how I “deal” with #adultacne. I replied that I don’t lol! They explained, apologetically in so many words about how their skin is tied to the center of their sense of self and couldn’t understand where my confidence comes from without having #flawlessskin skin. I thanked them for sharing that. I reminded them that my “scars” and #skin are part of me, not all of me. And by embracing my “ugly” I heal and feel great about my life! And no, not as in the way ugly opposes beauty because #ugliness is not the absence of #beauty. My appearance doesn’t dictate that. freeyomind #tag #girlrillavintage #uglyalookwithgreatcharacter

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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

To Smile Was My Only Inflection

 

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Struggling to Self love in summer

Self portrait. #summer2015 During a time of major transition. When the events in my life had me feeling grimy and less than powerful, unattractive and sore in heart. The sun was brighter and warmer that day, managed to hug me out of bed and into these clothes, onto this chair and under the trees where I could breathe. Suddenly, shit didn’t feel so bad. Reminded me of that unstoppable time on the train from Savannah when I knew then that my existence was never meaningless. And just like that my soul was warmed to the bone. To smile was my only inflection. #tag #theeamazinggrace #girlrillavintage #selflove #sunnydays #soullight #winning