Mirror, Mirror on the…phone?

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Picture from: She’s So Bright

 

I have decided to go on an Instagram fast for the month of May. Continue reading

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Make Your Own Plan

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Photo from Christianity Today

 

 

So I recently found out a young lady who calls herself a Christian is pregnant out of wedlock. She has made claims of abstaining from sex prior to marriage but considering the proverbial cat is out of the bag, she has now announced she has made a fresh commitment to “again” be celibate. She says her pregnancy is just a part of God’s plan.

It makes me wonder, the many people who do not claim to be Christians who have become unwed parents, are those occurrences outside of “God’s plan because they have not pledged allegiance to a deity?

The logic proposed by Christians and religion have worn me out time and time again. Now, I ask you to think about that comment considering the context within which I exist.

I am a black woman living in the New World; the Caribbean to be exact. In Antigua, secular events are started with a prayer and people speak of their religious Christian belief as the only option available. I myself at one time was a die- hard believer until logic (perhaps it was the maturing of my prefrontal cortex) caused me to stop believing over the course of a few years. I could write a novella on how I came not to believe in religion but I reserve that for a later post or perhaps an actual novella.

Since coming to terms with the fact that I genuinely believe the religion I have been socialized to believe is the mechanism whereby I would improve myself is a ruse, I have become aware of the the hold religion has over people.

I can respect the fact that people have the right to freedom of religion (I know what the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights says) but I cannot overlook that religion is something that was forced upon us Black people in the New World.

We were drilled into accepting the Christian doctrine. For us to have access to education, Black people had to be christened and take on the names of their white oppressors.

Christianity has been used to justify the atrocities that have been committed against us and we still use it to make sense of the injustice that comes our way.

I have heard Black Christian people say chattel slavery came to West Africans so they (my ancestors) could learn of the Gospel of Christ. Our brother is unjustifiably by Police and it’s a part of God’s plan which we are too lowly to fathom. We have also used it to make sense of our failures and disappointments. I have a family member who wanted to gain certification in early childhood education, however, a miscarriage and a decision to try again for a baby halted her pursuit. She still has hopes of working in the field and even opening a preschool but says perhaps it wasn’t a part of God’s plan for her to complete her studies. Try to follow this. She still has the dream but the dream requires effort to be brought to fruition. To me, she simply doesn’t want to put in the effort to accomplish the dream so therefore the obstacles are conveniently a part of God’s plan.

In the same way, sometimes, people make decisions which according to them were outside of God’s plan. Fornication and premarital pregnancies. However, when they find themselves reaping the results of their actions, it is agreeable to label them as a part of God’s plan.

We all go through undesirable experiences in life and make regrettable decisions and I think that makes us human. I think when we claim to be a part of a religious faith, there are so many expectations placed on us and rightly so because we ourselves tend to adopt a moral superiority. I can attest to this with my time in the church. So when we fall far from these expectations, we feel the need to work them into being a part of God’s blueprint and offer an explanation for decisions we have made in our personal lives.

Again, I respect people’s right to religious freedom. However, I want to let people, ESPECIALLY Black people know you do not have to be a Christian. You know you like to dress revealingly, you don’t have to apologize or explain yourself to your religious leaders. If you like to listen to trap music … that’s okay. If you are having sex out of marriage, be honest about who you are and the outcomes you want for your life instead of trying to be something you are not.  As a matter of fact, being honest about your sexual practices may help you to avoid becoming pregnant become you want to .

I know what it feels like to feel like if you are not a Christian, you are a bad person. I have made the decision and am still making the decision to just be me. Just be you. Provided that you are not hurting other people, allow yourself to live the life you truly want to live instead of living a life that has been beat, screamed and pushed into you.

Chronixx in Antigua

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Reggae artiste Chronixx (right) alongside his father Chronicle performing Big Bad Sound Source: Jessica Russell (Me)

 

Chronixx performed live in Antigua for the first time at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and he was amazing. Chronixx and The Zinc Fence Band were on point like a newly sharpened pencil.

The thing I liked most about Chronixx’s performance is the fact that he sang his songs right through. If you are familiar with how many Caribbean artistes performed you’d be familiar with the notorious “pull up” and in my little bit of experience this usually winds up being anticlimactic. You want the pull up to result in the artiste going harder than before and taking you on a euphoric journey through one of your favorite songs but then you swiftly realize he/she restarted the song only to never finish it. Chronixx did do “pull ups” and went into some other reggae songs while performing which resulted in roars from the audience. He sang a little bit of Driver by one of my faves Buju Banton and Tenement Yard originally by Jacob Miller which he later redid along with Miller and Inner Circle.

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Chronixx performing in Antigua at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium Source: Me

At one point he was singing a song (I can’t remember the song’s name) and when he mentioned “Haile Selassie I” he did so in the way he sings it in Big Bad Sound which is one of my favorite songs by him. I thought at that moment he would have gone into the song just to tell you that his mash-up was just AMAZING. He wound up doing Big Bad Sound later on in his set alongside his father Chronicle who has amazing vocals which offers Barrington Levy kinda vibes.

Another thing I loved about Chronixx’s performance was the fact that he did not engage in a bag ah long talking. Meaning, he came to sing and sing he did. There were times when he did drop some information on his personal beliefs but he stayed on the path of delivering the songs people came to hear.

The first time I saw Chronixx (he did not perform then) was at a guest lecture put on by culture enthusiast and now retired lecturer Dr. Carolyn Cooper at the University of the West Indies campus in 2015 . I also saw him perform for a short time at Major Lazer in Kingston in December 2016. Seeing him now, it’s great to see how both he and myself have grown over the years. I mean, he went on to get nominated for a Grammy Award since then.

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Chronixx at Guest Lecture at UWI Mona in 2015 Source: Me

Big up to Chronixx and his band. I wish him all the best in his endeavors. His future looks pretty bright and I’m sure he is determined to reach as far as he can.

Giovanni’s Room Book Review

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Yes, I have now made it through 2 books for the year which means, I am 3 books behind. But at least I am making a lil progress and I am proud to say I completed reading my first James Baldwin book! Hooray!

The name of the book I read is, Giovanni’s Room. It tackles the struggles an American man has with his romantic feelings towards men while living in Paris.

Now this book is known as a “classic gay novel” and I actually thought I would find it difficult to connect to the story… but I didn’t. This book made me feel. I felt the feelings of fear, confusion, resentment and the desire to be loved and that my friends is why I think this is a great story.

The book features themes which I think anyone can relate to. I have not lived a life vaguely similar to the characters in this book but I felt like I knew and understood them. David is living a life trying to deny he is sexually attracted to men. He meets Giovanni while with a friend of convenience named Jacques. Giovanni works for Guillame, a prominent French man who is gay and tries to buy sex from hot guys. David and Giovanni begin a steamy love affair while David’s girlfriend Hella is away in France.

Giovanni is needy. He is needy for David’s love and affection but David is more in need of a life that is socially acceptable and living as a straight man is more palatable for him. Where this leads the characters…you’ll have to read the book to find out but do not underestimate the raw emotion and human reality which will be exemplified in the conversations in this book.

Giovanni’s Room isn’t a book I think most will read with delight. I reckon it to be quite somber, however, it is a somber book I think you’ll be glad to have read.

The Fight is Real

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There was a time in my life when I couldn’t bother to argue and I just accepted colors in the region of beige as being nude. But other black people did not and look what we have in the picture above. DSW acknowledging that white does not define the standard of humanity. Nudes come in different shades and dark brown is a true nude to someone out there. Continue reading

Current Favorite Songs

I really haven’t had a decent list of songs I felt strongly enough about to write about for some time. However, I have been inspired and so I have compiled a very short list. I hope you like them.

  1. Anointed by Miguel. This song is the reason for this list. I have had this song on repeat since last night. There are points in the song where he takes it up a notch for example at 1:05 and I am feeling demigod-ish at those times. The instruments, lyrics and Miguel’s voice come together to create the divine.

 

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Struggling

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Photo From: Midlife with Crisis

 

 

It’s the second month of the year and I have read ZERO books. I feel incredibly unmotivated. I have started Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and I believe I took a gander back at 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup and babay! I was struggling through the both of them so I put them down and took them off of my “Currently reading” list on Good Reads. Continue reading