Get Out -By Selena Haskins

You may have watched TV Shows like Cold Case, The First 48, or The Coroner, and many of those shows are based on real-life crimes. The investigation makes you curious and you hope that justice prevailed by the end of the episode. Well, recently, I wanted justice for two women. One was pregnant and murdered by her boyfriend and the other was pregnant as well and severely burned by her boyfriend. I said to myself, ‘why didn’t they GET OUT???’

After my anger cooled down at the men who committed these terrible acts, my mind began to analyze the subject of domestic violence. I realized it was probably not easy for those women to get out, and when one of them did leave, maybe it was too late. I absolutely loathe domestic violence, and I hate the acts of men who abuse or even kill a woman, but it also saddens me that some women choose to stay.

Stand By Your Man sang Tammy Wynette, and many women do stand by their men— with a blacked-eye and busted lip. They will defend their man even til’ his death or her own. Why? Perhaps their mothers stayed in abusive relationships or maybe they feel like they’re not smart enough or have enough money to survive on their own or they’re too afraid to leave. To quote a character from my book, A River Moves Forward, “the only excuse for a man who abuses women are the ones we give him.” Pray for the courage to leave, educate yourself, learn to make your own decisions, and to say NO to others without regrets. The more a woman can do for herself, the less she will have to depend on a man. Gone are the days of yesterday when he once romanticized you in a cunning way. What’s the reality?

An abusive man may have seemed sweet, kind, and respectful, but if a woman plays the scenes of yesterday all the way through in her mind, she just may notice some red flags that she missed. What should a woman do when she sees the red flags? Should she wait it out? Time won’t change a man the man must change himself, and he can only do that if he recognizes he has a problem and is willing to seek help. Remember, an abusive man is a sick man. You cannot heal him. The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the harder it will be to leave.

Men who abuse women may have been abused themselves or witnessed domestic violence in their household. They may have also experienced a really bad break up and believe that if they allow themselves to be vulnerable again, that a woman will take advantage of him, so he becomes controlling. His control makes him feel powerful, and then he starts to become verbally abusive, and the verbal abuse leads to physical abuse, and ultimately the physical abuse leads to murder. Whatever other reasons psychologically or via his experiences in life, it is still NO excuse for him to abuse a woman, and he should seek help immediately!  In the meantime, be more concerned about your safety and your own life. Here is a list of some red flags you should not ignore.

  • Possessive and obsessive behavior – He wants to know your every move. Acts suspicious of others, especially other men. He isolates you from friends and family by having you cancel events or visits with them. He pays for everything including your rent, but it’s only to control what you wear or what you do.
  • Gets easily angry over little things.
  • Smacks you, because you made him jealous or didn’t do what he said, and then he showers you with more gifts and promises not to do it again.
  • He insists on having his way and does not compromise or consider your needs and feelings.
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol, and his abuse worsen while under the influence.
  • Threatens to kill you or himself if you leave.
  • He has a history of abusing women or violent criminal record.
  • He is always the victim. Nothing is his fault; it’s yours or somebody else’s.

GET OUT! Seek help from a family member or trusted friend. Call the domestic violence Hotline for professional guidance on this matter: 1-800-799-7233.

Photo Credits:  Pinterest board: articles.familylobby.com

Writer:  Selena Haskin

Selena-1058She is a native Washington who enjoys music, spirituality, basketball, and spending quality time with her family. As a young girl, Selena always had a vivid imagination, and would tell make-believe stories to her friends. As a teenager, Selena begin to journal her personal thoughts, and write poetry. Before long, her talent for writing was recognized by her high school English teacher, who encouraged her to write articles for the school newspaper. The articles motivated Selena to write many stories and essays, mostly as a hobby. After completing high school, Selena would major in English at Johnson C. Smith University, and the University of the District of Columbia

Website: http://www.booksbyselena.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorselena.haskins?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksbySelena

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booksbyselena/

 

 

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Wake Up by Toni Larue

“Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn’t do what you do, or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.” ~Malcolm X

What does it mean to be woke?

Does it mean that I’m against my people when I don’t buy everything from Black owned businesses? Am I an insult to my people when I wear weaves and artificial nails? Am I the enemy for having friends of different racial backgrounds?  Am I not woke because I believe in the political system, economic system??? Am I not woke because I don’t think every decision made for me or against me is because of the color of my skin?

I know this article is different from previous, but I felt that is was relevant because mindset plays a huge role in how successful we are as a community, whether it be financial, physical, mental and/or spiritual.

I had a discussion with some friends about what it meant to be conscious and It amazed me how many definitions, some I listed above, that people had. Like the feminist movement, a plethora of definitions consume the actual meaning. It gets buried in the quick sand and before you know it everyone is living their own definition of WOKE.

I’d like to think I’m woke.  I am aware of systematic racism and oppression that hinders the development and growth of my people. I try to do my part by using my platforms, supporting my people in their endeavors and educating them on solutions that we need to conquer collectively. However, I’m nothing like the top tier of WOKE people like Brother Polight and Red Pill and Blue pill and many more, but does that make me less of an influence? Or does is work like your carbon footprint? With every bottle you recycle you make the world a better place?

I’m telling you guys, I searched the net and YouTube and anything else I could find to give an accurate definition of what it meant to be woke and what I got was a matter of perspective and perception.

So, like many other people, I’ve come to my own conclusion (lol). The two quotes I included are from Malcolm X and Angela Davis, both these individuals did their part for the betterment of the Black community. But they weren’t perfect. They weren’t perfect and they made an impression in our future. So, I’m saying all this to say…do your part but don’t worry about how woke you are because you can never be something that isn’t clearly defined.

“I’m not longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” ~ Angela Davis

 

Give The Ring Back by Amy Michelle

We’ve all seen this post floating around since Evelyn Lozado, has called off yet another engagement. How is she even on Basketball Wives when technically she’s never been a wife?! Only one or two of them are actually still married to a ball player but they’re retired! I do not hate in any kind of way, Eva is actually one of my favorites on the show but it brings the social media world to a good question….
Is it okay to keep the engagement ring after you both decide it’s not the best idea to get married?       Seriously let’s think about this question from the guy’s first. He bought the ring that she wanted and she accepted it obviously, when or if he proposed. Sometimes you run across a couple that just went to the jewelry store together, picked out a cute ring, bought it and set a date as they drove home. It happens; maybe that sporadic behavior is the reason why the engagement is called off in the first place.

However it happened, he saved his coins and took thought into not buying some crap he didn’t need for the bachelor pad. He made the purchase so why can’t he return the ring and get his money back just like we return gently used things to Walmart because they take EVERYTHING back! Actually he would only get some of his money back because I’ve heard of some jewelers that only give you 20% back for what the ring is worth.

It’s a huge risk buying something so expensive on hope that it works out for the best. So why can’t he get his money back when the ex-fiancé moves everything out the house and scratch his rims us? Why would she want to keep it?       Now as a female, personally I wouldn’t want the damn ring! Whatever reason we had to end an embarrassing engagement he must really be scum and I wouldn’t want any reminder of him.

I would be like home girl Lisa from Coming To America when she gave The Prince 👑 those gorgeous ruby earrings back! “Bye Felix! 🖕🏾” But there are some women that feel entitled to the ring as payment or pain and suffering of having to put up with the guy throughout the duration of their relationship. I can understand that as well, but why? Why do you want to be reminded of it?!

Maybe there was even an instant where the cost of the wedding was split in half and somehow she contributed to the funds of paying for the rings…then is it okay to keep it? Just because a woman wants to keep the engagement ring doesn’t make her an automatic gold digger. There are so many contributing factors that leave us being judgmental about people we know nothing about. At the end of the day, we hopeless romantics dream of happily ever after and sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

It happens to the best of us AND the worst of us sometimes. We just have to be ladies about it, “Suck it up Buttercup!”, is what my daughter use to say. I don’t know about you dolls, but sound off….is it fair to give it back or are we actually saving these guys the embarrassment of only getting 20% of their purchase back? …now on the occasion that I feel like his sneaky, cheap butt would give the ring I picked out for myself to his next girlfriend or new fiancé….I would definitely keep that shit.

Hopeless Realist Romantic,

Amy Michelle

Are you given yourself a chance for change? by Shanikqa Canty

Here is a deep thought today, have you given yourself a chance to change?  Often times, we try to make ourselves comfortable in situation that we know are bound to change.    Maybe just the thought of being attached to “something” or “someone” makes life easier for some reason. But when you are on a journey of growth you will never be comfortable.

You can become content…YES! Every day we are growing and changing! And people, places, and opportunities that serve us no purpose can’t go with us. So, why are we holding on to these things that serve no purpose?

  I know it’s hard…some of us don’t like change…but sometimes change is a good thing. Why, change allows us to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  I know that’s a saying a lot of us hear at times but it is true! I feel that if we don’t give ourselves room for change in our life.

 We aren’t really living. Life is about a journey of ever constant growing and moving forward. No need to become stuck where you are, especially if you aren’t operating in your hearts desires. Give yourself a chance for change to take place in your life! And I can guarantee you. You will love it! Be mindful of the changes but watch and see!!

Author Bio

shanikqaShanikqa N. Canty is a young 20+ year old originally from Brooklyn, New York and now resides in Orlando, Florida. Canty is a Amazon 2x Best Selling Author, Writer and Creative Clarity Coach. This past spring of 2016 God laid it on Shanikqa’s heart to become the Visionary Founder of the Success 4 Singles Network. Canty is also a certified life coach and public speaker through the American Union of NLP. Shanikqa’s passion is assuring men and women (young or old) to rise out of the ashes and to tell their story. 

https://www.amazon.com/Shanikqa-N.-Canty/e/B017FIE2IU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1489435900&sr=1-1

Facebook/BeEmpoweredWithShanikqa

 

Saying Farwell to President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama

Saying farewell to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama is bitter sweet.  It’s been eight great years with our first African American President and first family.   President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave us eight years of commitment, dedication, and hope that we needed as a country.  I must say they are the best that has come forth for the people of all races and ethnicities.

I remember the 2008 election like it was yesterday, tears streaming down my face and jumping for joy for such a historic moment.  Watching them both over these last eight years has been life changing because they kept going higher and ignored those trying to bring them down.

A President who had such swagger and a impeccable speech style like no one that demanded your attention just with his presence.  You were eager to see what he had to say and he always had a positive outlook.   I will always remember them and what they stood for the people.  In President Obama’s farewell speech he said, “Yes We Can, Yes We Did”.

Even though tears will fall and hearts will be heavy to see them leave the White House.  I know their journey is not over, there is so much more that our 44th President will go on to pursue within their own destiny.  Because of these two inspiring man and woman of God we can use them as examples to our children when they talk about their dreams and aspirations in life.  The sacrifice the two of you made to serve this country will never be forgotten.  It was an amazing eight year journey that we all will treasure forever.  A few positives moments that you will leave etched in our hearts and minds.

  1. Powerful Black Couple who shared their love with the world.
  2. Dared us all to dream and walk in your purpose.
  3. Gave us hope for the impossible to be possible.
  4. Gave us examples for our daughters to accept their beauty in their skin they treasure.
  5. Shown our kids the importance of education.
  6. You both are inspirational and empowering.
  7. Change can happen if we believe in it and use our voice.
  8. Take the high road when naysayers are hitting below the belt.
  9. Positive role models for people of all ages.
  10. Our First Lady’s Elegance and genuine Beauty.
  11. The importance of healthy eating for our children to eliminate obesity.
  12. Our President’s Swagger.

To the President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama, thank you for giving us 8 years of service to this country.  You are greatly loved and appreciated.  You both have inspired, motivated, and empowered us to walk in purpose, stand in our truth, and gave hope to the little black girls and black boys to dream the impossible.  We love you and will miss you both.

obamasPhoto Credit: Getty Images

#FarwellObamas

#HistoricPresident

Featured Photo Credits: People Magazine

 

 

Reflecting on 2016 by Felicia Malone

2016 has been a trying year for all. There have been disappointments, deaths, and disasters. Not to mention the rise of the Donald. Social media posts show heartbreak over celebrity deaths. Someone has created a GoFundMe account to protect Betty White. Many people are eager to see 2016 go in hopes of a better 2017. 

If you really think about it, there have also been joys, births, and good times. Isn’t every year a mix of triumphs and disappointments? It is called life. We as humans increment the vastness of time into yearly increments. Perhaps it gives us some sense of control over the uncontrollable. The truth is – bad stuff happens and so does good. Your happiness cannot hinge on the nature of what is happening around you.

I have been cooking lately. Well, learning to cook. Yesterday, I decided to do it big. The meal planned – fried pork chops, mashed potatoes from scratch, and roasted garlic asparagus. I prepared by reading highly rated recipes. I watched how-to videos on YouTube. I was PREPARED. Armed with ingredients, knowledge, and determination – I was ready. I started cooking. Everything seemed to be going great. Food looked good, smelled even better.

After much sweat, I was finally finished. I fixed my plate. It looked good enough for Instagram. I cut into the perfectly browned pork chop. It was too salty. I felt the wind escape from my sails. I was not only cooking for myself but for my boyfriend, too. I was near tears. My friend said that is was okay. He stated that the only way to learn is to try. I began to feel less terrible.

That is my 2016 in a nutshell. It started with great aspirations. I even had a plan, a vision board even. I tried my best and still some things failed – relationships, promotion attempts, finishing my second book, weight loss. It was like those Facebook videos you watch of someone taking off in a race and then some invisible leg extends in front of them and they trip and fall. It feels like the fall is so hard because the person running was moving ahead at full-speed expecting to finish first.

I had started writing a great story based on my childhood adventures – over 10,000 words. I had written some wonderful poetry almost 30 pages worth. I went to Texas for a work conference and lost my thumb drive. Talk about tripping over an invisible leg. Man, I was hurt. Thankfully, the 10,000 words had been backed-up on the cloud. The poetry only exists in my head and heart.

I am ready to start again.

If you have been graced with another day of life, you have another chance to get it right. Some failures require some hard work. Others require some downtime for healing. No matter how comfortable, resist the urge to stay here. This place is meant to be temporary. You have to get up and keep running.

2017 is what you make of it. Start again. Be enthusiastic again. If you should fall, get back up and continue.

new-year-1940308_1280

Author Bio:

Felicia Malone

Felicia Michelle Malone is a published author and blogger originally from Chicago, Illinois.  She authors the lifestyle blog at www.talulazapple.com and a fitness blog at www.getfitwithfe.com. She was honored to be a semi-finalist in the Proctor & Gamble’s 2014 My Black Is Beautiful Ambassador search.   Felicia holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She also holds a Master’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Dallas. http://www.feliciamalone.com/

 

 

 

The Conversation I had with a White Woman-by Toni Laure

THE CONVERSATION I HAD WITH A WHITE WOMAN

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and [segregation], it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings” ~ Nelson Mandela

First, Stacy Dash suggested that there shouldn’t be a Black History month. Then, Jada Pinkett- Smith had Black people around the world on social media like: “#Oscarssowhite”. And let’s not forget how Beyonce’ shutdown the internet with her controversial Super bowl performance causing journalist, Tomi Lahren to make claims that the Black Panther Party was a terrorist group. We’re only three months into the New Year and the “Black and White” issues are heavy on everyone’s mind, now more than ever.  I am excited that people are talking about these issues… not just Black people. With that said, I welcomed the conversation I had with a friend of mine who just so happens to be White.  For the sake of my friends privacy I will refer to her as Lisa.

My latest blog article, “Why I regret going to College” sparked a conversation between Lisa and me. She asked me why I felt the way I did. I paused, thinking of a watered down answer because I really didn’t feel like explaining “race issues” to someone who wouldn’t understand. However, I decided against it and laid out all the reason for my attitude. Long story short, I explained to her that Black people are paying for an education we won’t get to use because Black people are the last on the list to get picked for a job, owned and operated by White people. I then went on to say that Black people would benefit more if we owned and controlled our own businesses. Lisa pondered what I had to say and her response was horrifyingly….hilarious. “Well, I worked at a call center and it was mostly Black people and Mexicans. There were less than five White people working there.” Her comment took me off guard and I’ll admit, I laughed for a long time. Once I calmed down, I let stats speak for themselves.  I explained that although the unemployment rate is down across the United States, it is still astoundingly high for Black people. I won’t go into detail about these stats because this article isn’t about the African American unemployment rate. This article is about how the world see’s us.

After continuing my conversation with Lisa I realized some White people think Black’s are just whiners, throwing around the race card to get ahead. She went on to say that she knows she missed out on job opportunities because of affirmative action so she can relate to what I’m saying (errrrrr????!!!!) but she also thinks that Black people are provided with the same opportunities as White people. Lisa went on to say that slavery was a long time ago and she doesn’t understand why “We” haven’t put the past behind us. After all, we have a Black president (side eye). I wasn’t angry with Lisa’s assumptions/opinions about racism. Racial discrimination and prejudice is something she’s only read about in history books. “It’s history” to her but not for the millions of Black people who face racial adversity every day.

The moral of the story is this: I think it’s important to educate everyone about race issues in America. These issues are subtle and insidious…small systematic changes that affect the Black community and it is people like Lisa who unknowingly play a role in the progression of racial discrimination simply because she feels it doesn’t exist.

Ignorance is not bliss. Should Black people make it a priority to educate White America on racial injustice?

About author:

Toni Larue is an author, entrepreneur and women’s empowerment advocate. She is the author of fiction novels, Abandoned Secrets (available now) and No Kissing (release date TBD), and the co-owner and COO of Team Jon Doe Management and Entertainment and Sounwave Music.

Website & Social media Links

https://www.facebook.com/therealtonilarue

https://twitter.com/ToniLarue

http://www.tonilarue.com/

http://www.teamjondoe.com/

 

(Photo) Daswartgewand. (2015). Hands hands shaking hands man hand [photograph]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/hand-hands-shaking-hands-man-hand-861275/