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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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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#Askformore, Bold, Career, Confidence, Criticism, Discipline, Empowerment, Gender Inequality, Glass Ceiling, Goals, Habit, Read, Reader, Self confidence, Speak up, Technology, Women

Quick Review: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

A good read at a time when I’m struggling to figure out the next step in my career.

However, it falls short on a very key point –actually on two key points: race and socioeconomic status. This book reminds me of the difference between ‘feminism’ and ‘womanism’. When it comes to gender inequality ‘feminism’ fails to appreciate the added unique challenges of race and socioeconomic status, whereas ‘womanism’ does not.

There wasn’t much Ms. Sandberg could do to really present and discuss these other matters – though she made brief mention of race. This book is well researched but that research is in line with the privilege of life as a rich, white woman. It’s nothing to hold against her because she’s speaking her truth from a genuine place. Unfortunately, as an early 30s black woman trying to establish my career in a male-and-white dominated world, it’s unlikely that I will have the luxury to follow much of her advice.


Lean In

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Author, Fellowships, Goals, Publication, Residencies, Write, Writer, writing, Writing competitions

Writing competitions and more…take a chance! – September/October 2014 Opportunities.

I’m a huge fan of Aerogramme Writers’ Studio. They’re such a useful resource for authors – especially for submission opportunities.

Check out their September and October 2014 list!

Disclaimer: I do not get paid (in dollars or chocolate chip cookies) for my endorsement.

Opportunities-for-Writers-September-and-October-2014*photo from Aerogramme.

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Author, Criticism, Discipline, Doubt, Edit, Feedback, Goals, Habit, Introvert, mentor, Publication, Revision, role model, Self confidence, Shy

Accepting Feedback

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill

I always experience this feeling of incredible vulnerability when giving others access to critique my work. The feeling is akin to handing someone the key to what belittles my value, makes me cry and makes me second-guess my talent. But it’s part of the process of becoming a published author, so I respect its purpose.

Helpful article about accepting feedback.


submitting work

 

 

 

 

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Author, Doubt, Goals, Inspiration, Inspire, Introvert, Marguerite Ann Johnson, maya angelou, mentor, Read, Reader, role model, Self confidence, Shy, Write, Writer, writing, Writing Tips

Thank you, Ms. Maya Angelou.

I hope you somehow knew the value of your words to a shy teen with her nose always buried in a book. Thank you for encouraging me to speak my voice through pen and paper. You will be missed.


untold story

 

By Maya Angelou 

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
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Author, Discipline, Doubt, Edit, Goals, Habit, Publication, Revision, Write, Writer, writing, Writing Tips

Helpful tips for revisions and edits.

Timely article as I am in the midst of revising my first novel.

This section was written especially for me today:

When I am drafting, I am in a continual state of rehearsal. Dissecting, questioning. Inventing new ways to test my story. Taking the characters for little rides outside the story. Digging for fundamental truth. I keep the writing rough while I chop the order of events around, concoct new scenes and drop them in . . . Certainly this can be frustrating, particularly when the story is flagging, there are too many unknowns. There’s always a stage where I’m convinced I’ve ruined an exciting idea. That’s why it’s called work. But what comes out of it is intensely creative.

Where are you with your writing? Are you revising a finished draft? Revising as you go along? How is it going?


Revision

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