To think is a privilege: Happy birthday Dr. King

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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

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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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Throw Back Thursday :)

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#‎tbt‬ i remember exactly where i stood-in the living-room, next to the french doors in my apartment on e. clay st. it was hot in the early summer of #2010. i had just turned 30 in march of that year and was having defeating thoughts about aging and he always made me feel ageless and beautiful. he was brilliant. he captured the parts of me that i valued less at that time and made me love them. thank you for that.
‪#‎theartist‬ was ‪#‎oncemylover‬ and is ‪#‎myfriend‬

-Thee Amazing Gracie

Your Arms Too Short to Box with God

Listened to some dope hip hop classics tonight. Heard the verse, “your arms too short to box with god” by at least 3 different artists (Nas, Big Daddy Kane, and Wu Tang Clan). Of course I had to google it’s origin. Come to find out the verse was actually the title of a musical written and directed by a woman name Vinette Carroll in 1977. Totally cool! In fact the same woman was the first African-American woman to direct on Broadway, with the 1972 musical “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope”. Carroll said of the musical, “This is a hymn to us, how the black man, who’s come a long way, must continue moving forward.” And how beautiful that black men in hip hop were the ones quoting her work. ‪

#‎ourlegacy‬ ‪#‎everyday‬

-Gracie Berry (thee amazing grace)

Veteran stage/film actress Vinnette Carroll appeared as Dr. Wynell Thatcher in the Season 7 "AITF" episode "Archie's Operation:Part 1".  Source: http://all-in-the-family-tv-show.wikia.com/wiki/Vinnette_Carroll

Veteran stage/film actress Vinnette Carroll appeared as Dr. Wynell Thatcher in the Season 7 “AITF” episode “Archie’s Operation:Part 1”.
Source: http://all-in-the-family-tv-show.wikia.com/wiki/Vinnette_Carroll

Money Madhers: The Day I Asked My Grandma For Another Dollar

I remember it like the moles sprinkled just below my left eye on my left cheek. I lived with my grandmother at the time. We were always in that old Thunderbird making stops for food and liquor. Lynn, my grandmothers husband pulled up along side the curb on 45th and Lancaster Ave Philadelphia Pennsylvania cross the street from Penn State Beer Store. Grandma finalized her order, a pint of gin, Lynn opted for a 5th of vodka and he got out of the car.

I could always tell when she was in a good mood cause she would get to buying stuff and throwing money around. She would be extra nice to Lynn, even gave him a kiss on the lips. She turned toward the backseat where I was sitting and said here Rabbit. Rabbit was a term of endearment she used toward me and my siblings. She continued, take this here dollar grandma got for you as she waved it around. I was so happy and was smiling from ear to ear cause the sun was so bright outside and I thanked her. I thought for a second with the Jamaican candy story adjacent to my left and in plain sight as any kid would about all of the snacks, candy they could buy if they had just one more dollar and since she was in such a good mood I opened my mouth with wide tooth smile and asked in the sweetest voice I could muster if I could have another dollar. Actually I said, “Can I have another one Grema”.

The instant she turned to me, a raging bull, face stern with that evil darkness in her eyes and menacing half smile I was so deathly afraid of and snatched the dollar out of my hand, tearing it in half in the process. She smacked the blood out of my face and blamed me for the dollar ripping. She yelled at me that I better not EVER, EVER ask no adult for no motherfucking money after they already gave me some. She followed by saying, “See what you made me do”. She always said that after beating me badly or when something went wrong. She called me an ungrateful little bitch. I cried in silence with tears rolling down my face and choking on that lump of sadness you get when you just want to scream it all out, but can’t because if you did it would be so much worse.

That was the moment I learned never to beg for money or anything for that fact. To be satisfied with what was given to me. To settle. To never aspire to reach for anything more than what was in my view. To never overstep my bounds even if I wanted something on the other side. I was meek and solitary and confused at how much, me simply asking for that extra dollar made her mad. How angry she was at the very notion of me making that choice. How much control she had over all things in my life. How that one moment debilitated my self-worth and drive that affects me deep down to this very day. How I will often suffer alone instead of asking for the help I need out of some secret fear. She always wanted to break me, every chance she got. -Gracie Berry

For Some Life Is Too Long

Thinking about the courageous folks in my life that ended their own lives. So much love between us, having shared the planet together! I remember seeing the light slowly leave from behind your eyes. To watch you suffer that loss made me so sad. And while some say that life is too short-for you life was too long. I hold you and honor you here, behind my left breast.~Gracie