Monday, March 5, 2018

The Wonders of Wakanda: The Aftermath of Marvel’s Black Panther (No Spoilers)

After my first time seeing the movie, I was still taking it all in. 

It is a fictitious land with a real-life impact: Welcome to Wakanda!

A nation that is rich in its origin. It is preserved. In the world of Marvel, Wakanda is the world’s best-kept secret. In every Wakandan tribe, there is a regularity, an expectation that  “Black” is royal. “Black” equates advanced and genius, rich in assets and resources. “Black” means strong and cultured, and is respectful and respected. “Black” is diverse, and its greatest wealth is culture.

Perhaps it was actress Angela Bassett who delivered one of the most powerful lines in the movie: “Show them who you are!” she commands as the mother of T’Challa.This particular scene was a monumental moment for the Black Panther. It was a reminder for those of us watching him battle for his throne, that who we state ourselves to be is not only a declaration – it is our power.

Wakanda allows children and adults (alike) to escape to a world where Mother Africa still has her virgin roots. The imaginary journey the film provides is especially sweet for those of us who consistently battle society’s agenda to push the fallacy that blackness has no value. Wakanda shatters every lie and glass ceiling regarding. The movie is a memento that there is greatness in the genes. The film raises a question for black people of all ethnicities: Will we be our ancestors worst nightmares or biggest dreams?

A black superhero – backed by beautiful, bald and bold black women – fighting a black villain, all while uniting and teaching a colorful world, through a brilliant storyline. The film’s imagery gives kids from the hoods of New York City to the Hills of Hollywood a chance to point to the screen and say “I’m this, I’m that one!” It is a gift to see oneself represented on-screen through the features and colors of Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright (to name a few).

When the screen fades to black, it makes one wonder, if Wakanda were real, who would you be? Not which character but you as yourself? Today’s world needs leaders, kings and queens, warriors, dreamers, techies, strong men and courageous women who fight for others. We need people (of all colors) to unite and raise their voices for those who are under-represented, persecuted and under-served. Today’s world needs ceiling breakers and history-makers like the film’s director Ryan Coogler. We need more writers and artists like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who will go against the grain and use their pens to write stories that support inclusion.

Have you seen the movie? Did you feel its effect? The contagion of self-acceptance it has! The influence and nobility of African heroes who impact both a fictitious and real world! No matter where you are come from, Black Panther inspires you to discover the power you have within – to understand the fact that “you are you and that is your superpower!” Fair warning: You will leave the theater feeling valorous, ready to “show them [the world] who you are!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fox 5 Live, DV Awareness and My DC Television Premiere

 So my first DC television appearance was both a blast and impromptu. My Phenomenal Executive Director asked me to take her place on Fox 5 at 5 Live, and I must admit, she has big shoes to fill, and so I was nervous...but with a little prep and a lot of heart, thank the Lord, I did what I love!

I joined our Band of Brother's presenter, Rodney Gray and spoke about our "Band of Brothers" event and the work done by the Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County.

It's amazing to think that a year ago, all of this was just a promise I knew I had from God, and now, it's a reality. It pays to believe in God. It pays to never give up. It pays to choose faith over fear. This is just the beginning.


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Take the Advice You'd Give to Your Sister

Tres de mis cuatro y todas ellas son mis favoritas. Mis Hermanas. Circa 06/2017
...because it’s usually better than the advice you’d give to yourself. Isn't it something? The way we would absolutely lose it if we watched others that we care about go through the hell and the chaos we allow ourselves to experience? Insert the little chocolate girl emoji raising her hand because I’m guilty of it also. I think at one point or time in life, we all are. 

We let others use and take advantage of us. We keep our mouths closed when we know we deserve the promotion or the opportunity. We stay silent, all in the name of love or at the desperate hope that things will get better in a toxic relationship. We hold on for dear life to our comfort zone. …we settle for less…way less.. way way less. We dance with fear even though we desire to be consumed by the faith to do something we’ve never done or to pursue the impossible…and yet our actions don’t match the advice we’d give to the ones we love. So then, is this a question of how much we value and love ourselves? If you have an idea or answer, I'm seriously asking.

Why is it that we’ll endure or put up with and settle for treatment that we know isn’t right? Why don’t we stick stubbornly to our standards with full confidence, and be our very own cheerleaders, protectors, defenders, and support systems first and foremost?  It takes serious effort to decide that come what may, you’re going to put yourself first, and do what’s best for you- aside from what someone else thinks. Being human requires this balancing act of being vulnerable and sensitive enough to give and receive from others but fierce enough to "clap back" when necessary. It’s the perfect chemistry of being wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove, and it’s hard to master.

I hate not having solutions. In the last few years of life, I’ve embraced some solid advice given to me by my mother “be who you were made to be, not who you were raised to be.” Her words are a consistent wake-up call and a personal reminder of who I am and what I deserve. I’ve decided to just try my best. Even when I don’t make the right decision, get back up and try my best. When I’m wary of what others may think or say, make the best decision for myself- and try my best to put my heart’s desires first- this is my life.
I’ve learned that if we try our best, in the end, we win. We grow. We learn. We forgive ourselves. We understand ourselves. We become our best selves. That was the advice I was giving to an amazing young mind today, and it’s the advice I will take for myself. Just try my best, and take peace with that. One thing my soul reminds my heart of is that the words I give to others as valuable inspiration- is what I too am worth.


"Risks vs. Reward" (When the Journey Get's Rough Series)

I filmed this video blog back in February. It's amazing to see how much my life has changed since this moment. I took on a new work opportunity that has given me a bigger voice, and the opportunity to give a voice to those who need it most. I started hosting my very first talk show, I've done things that I've waited years to do, and it feels good to not only be alive but to LIVE. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ep. 6 Pt. 2: The Impact of DV on Children

This is THE episode you want to watch if you know a child who is in an abusive home. Many times, loved ones, teachers, and friends are traumatized by the fact that they don't know how to help. Chats 4 Change Expert Host Sophie Ford and Maryland/DC Clinician Patrick Crawford have some "must hear" solutions.


Ep 6 Part 1: The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

Part 1 of episode 6 introduces a new segment to Chats 4 Change called the Wake-Up Call. Watch and Listen as a young girl, calls 911 to report that she is witnessing her step-father abusing her mother. After the Wake-Up Call, Host LaToria digs deep with Expert Host Sophie Ford, to get a full break down and understanding of what most children experience when they witnessing domestic violence.


Episode 5: Misconceptions of Men and Domestic Violence

The hosts welcome guest Kenneth Baldwin and chat about issues surrounding the perception of Men and domestic violence. 

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