america, American, American Dream, Blue collar, Body Image, Confidence, Criticism, Education, Empowerment, Gender Inequality, Goals, Higher education, inferior, insecurities, role model, Self confidence, Success, Women, writing

How Dare You Come For Michelle Obama?

I recently penned an article for Jet magazine (that was picked up by EBONY magazine) in response to an offensive cartoon of FLOTUS Michelle Obama. Below is the article in its entirety as well as the links: How Dare You Come For Michelle Obama? by M. Michelle Derosier for Jet magazine and How Dare You Come for First Lady Michelle Obama! by M. Michelle Derosier for EBONY magazine.

michelle obama-610x250

Full disclosure in the spirit of transparency: I STAN as hard for Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama as the Beyhive works to keep Queen Bey (aka Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter) in honey.

As a nose-in-the-book Black girl who grew up in Flatbush when Brooklyn was still too hood for gentrification, I am here, present, and on time for her rise from the South Side of Chicago to become an Ivy League lawyer, and now First Lady of the United States. As a tall girl whose height was a source of constant ridicule, I am also here, present, and on time for the regal and dignified way she carries her 5’11 frame.

While I fully admit that she’s BBF M’Obama in my head, you don’t have to be a fan – or even like her – to find Ben Garrison’s cartoon, comparing a “masculine” Mrs. Obama to Melania Trump in incredibly poor taste and disrespectful.

offensive flotus cartoon

Other than a pathetic attempt to gain publicity, what’s the motivation behind it? What message is it trying to send?

Are we supposed to be disheartened that yet another Black woman is found lacking when measured against white beauty standards? Been there. Done that. And you don’t have that power over us anymore. We’ve been growing the list of Black beauties and #CarefreeBlackGirls who reflect who we really are. In addition to the Michelles and the Oprahs, we’re adding the Violas, the Lupitas, the Tracees, and the Yaras, too.

Is this yet another reminder that to be Black means to achieve twice as much and receive half the credit? Don’t worry. That lesson is branded in our DNA. There’s no forgetting it.

As FLOTUS, Mrs. Obama has spearheaded four successful nationwide and global initiatives: a campaign to address childhood obesity; a call to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families are properly supported; an effort to inspire young people to dream beyond high school; and a movement to educate and empower young women.

Additionally, as a fashion icon, Mrs. Obama has done what Kim Kardashian only wishes she could – directly impact the stock price of the commercial fashion industry. According to David Yermack, a professor of finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business, “For just a generic company at a routine event, it was worth about $38 million to have Mrs. Obama wear your clothes.”

Someone please call POTUS to drop the doggone mic.

obama.mic_.drop_1.gif

Sadly, in the face of all this Black Girl Magic, we still find an America who would prefer as FLOTUS a woman who posed naked on a white fur rug inside a private jet for British GQ, instead of an Ivy League trained lawyer.

Am I surprised? Not at all.

Honestly, I’m not even mad at Melania. It would be too easy to go down the road of mud flinging and pitting the two women against each other, but that doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Our problem runs so much deeper, and so far beyond America.

Black female beauty in this world has often been ridiculed, oversexualized, or both. This fact comes into particular focus when I think of Sarah Baartman, an African woman who was tricked into leaving the continent to move to Europe, only to be paraded around “freak shows” to exhibit her ample bottom. Like Mrs. Obama, White cartoonists also ridiculed her figure in the name of satire.

Ironically, according to the 2015 report from the American society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), on average, a butt related procedure (implant or lift) was performed every 30 minute in 2015. And I’m sure we can guess who’s shelling out for that.

Instead of getting angry at this cartoon, I choose to celebrate the woman that’s being ridiculed. The woman who has spent eight years in the White House tirelessly serving and advocating for many of the same citizens who hold her in such contempt.

Like Beyoncé, Michelle Obama chooses to rise above her haters. She wins.

 

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Education, Higher education, Read, Reader, Romance novels, Shy, Write, Writer, writing

Make it rain…books…lots and lots of books…

Psst…come closer and I’ll tell you a secret. *waiting…waiting…* Okay, come on, stop taking so long to get here. Oh, you’re here. Sorry. As I was saying, I’ve got a secret. Here goes – I puffy heart L-O-V-E reading. I mean really ❤ it. I have since I was a child.

little kids reading

To know me is to know that I’m a happy introvert who loves to tuck away in a corner and read.

tuck away reading

In honor of International Literacy Day, which gives children and communities a chance to rediscover the joys of reading while raising awareness for those without access to education, here’s a collection of my favorite reading memes.

life easier reading

sleepread

book memes

And a tiny collection of my favorite books.

The MOST important book I will ever read. It goes so far beyond ink on paper (or words on a screen, I read it on my phone). It guides my life.

Bible Live

The book that gave me the courage to admit that I wanted to be a writer.

anne frank

Ironically, the book that encouraged me to see something special in my dark skin and what I thought of as my plain brown eyes.

The bluest eyes

The books that shaped my career’s passion to bring opportunity where there is none.

Kozol

I have so many more. They can be seen on my Author and Fan and I Heart Reading Pinterest boards.

collage 1

Collage 3

How can I not crush on Kane and Jared?

How can I not crush on Kane and Jared?

Collage 4

Collage 5

your fave tm

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Brooklyn, Career, Education, Flatbush, Give Back, It takes a village, mentor, Volunteer

Are the teenage attackers in the McDonald’s violent brawl more than their horrible action?

Animals. Thugs. Savages. Worthless space in our society! Lock them all up, do society a favor.

This past week a horde of high school-aged girls viciously attacked another teenage girl in a Brooklyn McDonald’s while customers watched, many laughed and at least one recorded and uploaded the brutal act. The comments above are a sampling of thoughts and feelings posted on the Facebook page of a local news channel in response to the story.

Like many others, my first reaction was horror followed very closely by disgust. However, while reviewing various online comments on this story, I noticed an unfortunate trend that the disgust was directed not at the act, but at the girls themselves. You might wonder about the difference. To me, the names and statements directed at the girls have the power to do more harm than good.

According to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist David Caldwell, “one’s own behavior can be altered by self-fulfilling prophecies. Referring to someone as negative or “bad” in some manner can elicit that same type of behavior, and it can affect the person’s own self-beliefs. If I believe that I am “bad”, I might act that way because I now think that is all I am capable of doing.”

In the ten plus years of working with teenagers who fit the same general profile as these girls, I have seen firsthand the destructive power of internalizing the labels of hoodlum, thug, animal, underachiever and so many more. I have seen that when expectations are set low, a number of the teens without appropriate role models in their lives, will actually seek to prove these expectations right. To the detriment of their well-being, they disregard what is right in order to own the black mark society has set on them. Think of the expression cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.

I am not condoning their horrible behavior nor saying anyone else is to blame for their actions, but what I am saying is that we as a society should be careful not to write them off as unreachable and unredeemable. And that happens when we start to believe that they are inherently evil and stop to believe that they can be separated from their evil actions.



McDonald's Violence

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Author, Blogging, Career, Coding, Confidence, Criticism, Doubt, Education, Empowerment, failure, faith, Fear, Feedback, Goals, Technology, Write, Writer, writing

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!

Learning to code is certainly challenging, but well worth the effort and time. I kicked-off 2015 not with a resolution, but with the goal of undertaking a project that would shove me out of my safe and comfortable bubble. And shove me HTML, CSS and JavaScript have done. And they’re just the basics. Let’s not forget that I still have the programming languages to learn. Hello PHP! Nice to meet you, Python! Oh, Ruby, you sparkling beast! Oy. Well, one task at a time.

So, what challenge will change you this year? What challenges have changed you in the past?

My Last Top 3 Growth-Encouraging Challenges

  1. Completing my very first novel. IT. WAS. HARD. REALLY. REALLY. HARD. But for the first time since I started keeping a diary at the age of nine, I had the confidence to call myself a writer.
  2. Sharing my writing. When I clicked submit and officially entered the 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest, my heart dropped to my stomach. There was no turning back at that point. I had opened the door for others to see my heart. I needed that experience to give me the courage to work towards becoming a published author. Something that hasn’t happened yet, but I refuse to give up on.
  3. Running my first (and only so far) half marathon. I was injured, cold, and felt like a truck had run me down. I remember praying with every painful step that the Lord would strengthen me to continue. He did. That experience was yet another confirmation of Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back.

P.S. I apologize in advance for the errors you might encounter in future posts as I practice HTML and CSS behind the scenes. 🙂 I’ll keep working with Skillcrush to improve my skills. I’ll be an expert yet.

challenge change

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American, American Dream, Author, Blue collar, Brooklyn, Career, Education, Family, Family Values, Flatbush, Haiti, Haitian, Higher education, Inspiration, Inspire, It takes a village, Labor, Menial work, mentor, NYC, role model, Sacrifice, Self confidence, The Godfather

A Grandfather’s Sacrifice.

Speaking of mentoring, here’s a note I wrote a few years ago on Thank Your Mentor Day in honor of my grandpa – the original mentor in my life. The man I lovingly refer to as #TheHaitianGodfather. 🙂

Who mentored you? Please share your story.

I am a true representation of the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” I was that child and my village consisted of my family, my church, my teachers, and a sprinkling of strangers throughout the years. These individuals were instrumental in providing a foundation for the development of my values and beliefs.

The most important person in said village was (and probably still is) my grandfather – the man who nurtured and mentored me throughout most of my life. My grandfather is a man who “could have been somebody” in the materialistic sense of the statement. He is perceptive, clever with numbers, and annoyingly adept at learning new languages.

However, my grandfather spent most of his adult life working menial jobs and catering to those who are “somebody.” He did so not because he lacked focus or determination, but because he chose to surrender his success for that of his family.

Instead of going to school when he arrived in the U.S. from Haiti in the 70s, he spent decades working to afford to bring his children and extended family members to America for a better life. His desire for higher education was never fulfilled, but his labor paid for countless degrees and full access to the American Dream.

As I watch the state of Haiti today I am especially thankful for my grandfather’s sacrifice and overall guidance.


grandpa raise hand

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