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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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These Pastors Ain’t Loyal?

I recently penned an article for Jet magazine in response to the Rev. Jamal Bryant who once again finds himself embroiled in marital scandal. Below is the article in its entirety as well as the link: These Pastors Ain’t Loyal? by M. Michelle Derosier for Jet magazine.

pastor Jamal Bryant-610x250.png

I have an inherent distrust of televangelists and pastors of mega churches.

And it’s not just because they’re stereotyped as snake charmers drawing in millions of followers with the false promise of health and wealth while seducing them out of their life savings. What I find most disconcerting is that oftentimes–and not every time, and not all of them–they’re peddling a gospel that is contradictory to the revealed Word of God. Contradictions that can be so subtle it’s hard to tell the difference until or unless you do as 1 John 4:1 says, “…Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Understanding that I have a tendency to see televangelists as false prophets, I prayed for the ability to step back and approach the story about pastor Jamal Bryant, who faces allegations of fathering a 10-month-old son out-of-wedlock, with unbiased eyes. The Rev. Bryant, leader of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple Church, hasn’t confirmed or denied the allegations, or the paternity test presented by alleged baby-mother Latoya Shawntee Odom suggesting that he is 99.9999 percent the father of her child.

While going down a rabbit hole of research about his ministry, I struggled to find a man who genuinely repented when he “fell short of the glory of God” the first time around: eight years ago when he had an extramarital affair that caused his divorce and brought to light the discrepancy between preaching and living.

Instead, I found a man whose woe-is-me attitude is as evident today as it was when he described, in this Roland Martin interview, his 29-year-old self who had the first affair: “I was quickly becoming a household name. So, nothing in my mind ever said, number one, I would ever get caught; number two, that my wife would ever leave; number three, that my church would tank out.”

After listening to clips of him speak and of his sermons–one of which quotes the lyric “These h-es ain’t loyal,” from the great Old Testament R&B singer Chris “Eat the Cake, Rihanna” Brown–I am saddened that everything screams “my ministry.” Where I was looking for God as the focus, all I saw was Him as a prop to shine the light on Bryant and his destiny. Although Bryant claimed years ago to have “grown a lot”, all I can see is the same sin and same arrogance. Nothing learned.

While he might not have learned anything, I pray his congregation will. As I’ve often asked God, please deliver me from ever setting You aside to follow a religion or a preacher.

 

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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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Spring has sprung!

Spring has officially sprung in NYC. Hooray!

Sharing some pics from my weekend of leisure. The Macy’s window display, interesting glass exhibit at Madison Square Park, coffee and fruit in my new favorite writing hideaway and fresh veggies and blooming flowers in the Union Square Farmer’s Market.

Enjoy!

How’s the weather where you are?

20150404_142846blow glass frame20150404_142836writing hideaway 2greenmarket 2

 

 

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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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Day 30: 30 NaBloPoMo Random Thoughts

1. I’m thankful to all who have taken time to read, like or comment on my posts. There’s plenty else that you could be reading or just doing, so thank you for the 10-15 minutes out of your day to engage with me.

2. Thank you to the other bloggers who participated this month. I had a chance to read a number of your blogs/posts (not as many as I would have liked) to learn about you and your take on the world. Even when your take on the world skewed left where mine skewed right, I could appreciate the courage it took to be vulnerable and share your thoughts.

3. Why did it take me so long to discover BlogHer? What a great way to connect others in the same sphere! Looking forward to the conference this summer.

4. Pictures can and do say a thousand words.

5. *This has always been true for me* It takes less emotional investment to share your thoughts/feelings with strangers than it does to share with your loved ones. D is the only one who knows I have a blog and it took a while before I gave him the link.

6. I’m very mindful about sharing the personal information of others because they did not choose to expose their thoughts to strangers – I did. As such, if you see ‘D’ (for my husband) or/and other acronyms and abbreviations, please know it’s only because I want to be respectful of their privacy.

7. I’m ALWAYS interested in learning more about my readers. I don’t just ask questions to fill empty space, so I encourage you to jump in and respond. I read all of your responses.

8. The default date and time stamp on WordPress is wrong. It’s always a day and hours ahead. I have to publish the post and then go back in to edit the date/time. Anyone knows how to change that?

9. I have to switch to posting early in the morning because waiting until the end of the day makes me less likely to do so. I’m on the computer all day, I don’t want to get back on after work.

10. With that said, it has been nice to use these posts to reflect on each day’s activities.

11. Sorry I’ve been so American-centric with my references. WordPress tells me that my visitors are from all over the world. I welcome all international readers and want you to feel a part of the Write it Out! community.

12. I am very random. My posts have and will continue to reflect the diversity of thoughts that zigzag through my head at any given point.

13. Even so, I do need to put together a calendar of topics each month to organize my blogging life. I can be random and organized, I think.

14. There has to be a less time consuming way to add a ‘Pin It’ button to each picture. Right now I use Widget Builder  – a helpful tip I picked up from blogger Venus Trapped in Mars, but it’s tedious when I have multiple photos. Is there a better tool?

15. Prissy didn’tknow nothin bout birthin babies!” and I don’t know nothin’ ’bout growing a blog! Thank God for the experts out there. I’ve curated a collection of tips on one of my Pinterest boards: The Business of Writing. Take a look.

16. It’s so helpful when bloggers set links to open in new windows or tabs. I find it annoying when I’m reading a post and click on a link and it opens in the same tab.

17. I’m a complete dork who gets silly excited when I receive a comment/like notification. Wonder if that’s the same for bloggers with better traffic.

18. What are some of your favorite blogs out there? I’ll be writing a post of my faves in December or January, God willing, and I’d like to start researching more.

19. Yes, I love technology. Always and forever. *But I will go crazy when it doesn’t work as fast as I think it should.*

20. Bookmark has been so helpful through this process. First I post here, then I have to copy and paste to BlogHer, and then have to add the link to the November 2014 NaBloPoMo page. When I’m posting with one minute to midnight, I don’t have the time to go in search of all these links.

21. Picmonkey is a great free tool to edit photos.

22. As you can tell by my photos, I’m not a skilled photographer. I hope you enjoy the slices of my life I share with you even if they’re not perfect.

23. How come when it’s time to write a post that’s when I remember the 12,000 other tasks I wanted to do that day? Distracted much?

24. The same topic can be covered by multiple bloggers yet each voice is unique and will present the story as such.

25. I ♥ fashion and home blogs. BlogHer has helped me find new, small and quirky ones to add to my list.

26. If I post steadily over the next year (God willing) and see a tremendous growth in readership, I will invest in my own personalized designed site.

27. I made a mistake taking on NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo in the same month. While it’s unfortunate that I did not successfully complete NaNoWriMo, I am encouraged by the success of this project. The work on my second novel focused on Eli‘s sister Laura will continue. It just won’t be completed this year as I had hoped.

28. I recently learned there is a NaBloPoMo for December. The theme is JOY; I’m excited and will be posting!

29. Real life or online life, I’m an introvert. And as an introvert I don’t always feel like sharing myself with the world. When I’ve been too social – as has been the case over the last month – I often need a little quiet corner to regroup, which is why I didn’t post yesterday. And that’s okay. 🙂

30. I am not perfect, but thankfully I’ve been blessed with a heart that seeks after God. My life is here to encourage others to see God’s mercy, grace, correction (God corrects those He loves), and love in order that He may receive the glory that He alone deserves. Whether I’m writing a blog post or writing a story, I am aware that what I share with the world can either encourage others to draw nearer to God or away from Him. I pray to always do the former.

My feet in the Aegean Sea in Athens

My feet in the Aegean Sea in Athens. Random enough?

 NaBloPoMo_November

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33 Random Things I’m Thankful For.

To cap off my lovely birthday weekend here’s a list of 33 random things I’m thankful for.

1. My salvation. Nothing in life could ever matter without the security of eternal salvation. I’m thankful God used my grandmother to lead me to the church where I eventually came to accept Christ as my personal savior. I am by no means perfect, and in fact I’ve fallen short more times than I’d like to admit, yet I’m blessed to know that nothing can separate me from the love of God. My salvation is because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and not of my own merits.

2. D, who is happy to indulge my desire to jump in the car, pick a direction and see where we end up. In fact, he is a willing participant. Today we ended up in a cute, tiny slice of Americana called Millerton (NY).

3. Great food. Whether it’s a spicy chicken sandwich at a fast food joint or a grilled octopus dish at a Michelin rated restaurant, I’m thankful for the meals that make my stomach happy.

4. Speaking of food, I am ever thankful that even though my family was considered working poor, my siblings and I were always fed. It wasn’t until adulthood I came to realize my mother willingly sacrificed her meals to keep us fed. I don’t ever take for granted a full – heck even a partially full – fridge, and never miss out on an opportunity to feed someone. When 1 in 6 people in this country face hunger, the opportunity is ever present. Feeding America can help you find a food bank near you if you’d like to lend a hand, or if you’re in need of a helping hand.

5. Cheap makeup brands that let me try out red lipsticks. I don’t wear lipstick and never red lipsticks, yet I had an itch to try one recently. NYC 320 Mahogany is a winner.

6. My siblings – both by blood and by marriage. Of course I love them because they’re family, but I also really like them as human beings. Each unique personality brings something of value to this world and to my life.

7. Christmas decorations with lots of lights. I am the weirdo who will stand outside your house taking pictures. Accept it as the compliment that it is.

8. The Internet. In the last few days alone I’ve googled the correct temperature to cook chicken (350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes), the start and end dates of Hanukkah 2014 (Dec 16-24), and Ian Ziering’s age (surprisingly, 50). How is that possible? How old was I when I was watching 90210? Anyway, technology is an amazingly convenient tool.

9. Hairdressers. Making me presentable since 1999.

10. Puppies. All that cuteness just brings a big ol’ smile to my face.

11. Pedicures. Specifically pedis at my favorite salon. Such a great way to relax and hide out from the world for 45 minutes.

12. Working for a company with a mission. With as much time as I spend at work, I’m thankful I can at least say it’s to serve a greater purpose.

13. Sanity. Enough said.

14. Physical health. Enough said.

15. Friends who care about me and my husband. Last year I had a health scare and it was great to see how certain friends rallied to support D knowing he was remaining strong for me. I’ll never forget that.

16. Funky glasses. Fun eyewear helps me make the most of terrible eyesight.

17. Contacts. The next best thing to laser surgery.

18. A love of the written word. Reading and writing.

19. Coffee and tea. Spent some time at a Harney & Sons tasting room today. So good.

20. Spiritual leaders who take seriously the role of shepherd that God has called them to be. Those who know that they will have to give an account to God for the spiritual well-being of everyone He placed in their care. Hebrews 13:17 and James 3:1.

21. A good night’s rest.

22. Coconut and Olive oils. Talk about multipurpose use. Good to eat. Good to moisturize. Best value ever.

23. Pretty/interesting/unique notebooks and journals. I’ve kept a diary since the 5th grade when Ms. Romain gave me Anne Frank’s Diary as a graduation gift. I can never have enough of them.

24. Four seasons. Even winter.

25. A huge big world to explore. So many places to see. So many dishes to try.

26. Smoothies. The best way to get nutrients from all the good-for-you ingredients I’d rather not eat. Although I still can’t bring myself to add bananas. *Shudders at the thought of eating them.*

27. Secret Santas. I’m always excited to participate in SS exchanges and look forward to creating a package that my person will enjoy.

28. Online banking.

29. My mother-in-law’s pumpkin pie. Yum.

30. My mom’s legume – eggplant, chayote, crab, conch and beef – and rice with fresh beans.  Sooo good.

31. Legs that enjoy walking.

32. Protective cases for phones.

33. Love.

Millerton Oblong

Main street

Terni's

2014-11-23_23.40.09[1]

Book drop ted

Book drop blue

Bench

Tasting room

Harney and Sons

Mussels

Dessert menu

Dessert

NaBloPoMo_November

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