Frail Bodies Pt. 1

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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The human species or better yet, homo sapiens is latin for "wise man" or "knowing man." Us, being the "wiser" of the species have a highly developed brain and are capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem-solving.  We are bilateral beings,  sensitive to body language, self-expression and the exchange of ideas.  All powerful are we? hmmmm...indeed.

We are the movers and shakers of this earth...from civilization, to trade and economics, architecture, and science and health...our additions to the earth, (and subtractions as well) make us the kings and queens of the land.

Yet, what I find ironic is in all our "splendor" "awe" and "amazement," how incredibly frail our bodies are.  We have no outer layers of protection, no scales, no exoskeleton, disguising attributes, (weaves and make up do not play here!), no venom...all we have is skin.  Yes, our skin protects us against pathogens, excessive water loss and other things...but we are naturally and literally defenseless.

As God created us in His image and likeness...I would like to assume that he also created us to physically depend on Him.  He knew what abilities He was going to mold us to have, what things were capable of and how impactful we would be on this world. But yet and still...our natural physical makeup causes us to be dependent on Him. To cover us, pick us up least we cast a foot on a stone, as He promises that no weapon forged against us will prosper.

Our frail bodies, and God our Preserver.

We Remember September 11th

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, September 11, 2011

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I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001.  I sat on the edge of my seat as the rest of my fellow students clustered around a television in the middle of my 9th grade English class.  Horror gripped my body as I saw ominous smoke bellow from buildings and police officers frantic over the airways. I remember asking my teacher, “is this a movie or is this real?” With tears in her eyes, my teacher—Mrs. Bridges said, “Antoinette…this is very real.” 


September 11th will always be remembered as surreal day of pain and disbelief for the American people. How could a series of four coordinated suicide attacks fall upon a country that seemed so impenetrable? On that dark morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets and intentionally crashed two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a fourth jet—Flight 93—crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylania before it could reach its intended target in Washington, DC.

It would be wise for us to pause and reflect on the courageous men and women on that day.  Let us reflect on El Shaddai’s grace and mercy on how He opened the gates of heaven and welcomed loved ones.  Let us reflect on Jehovah Shammah
 —a God who is there, comforting wife’s who had lost their husbands and children who had lost their mothers .  Jehovah Rapha—healing God who is yet and still bringing back the minds of city officials in FDNY AND NYPD suffering from posttraumatic stress. Jehovah Jireh—a provider to families who have still been unable to identify remains of a family member.

Many brothers and sisters are mourning on this day and searching for a need to smile. Tomorrow is truly not promised and as we are considering the feelings of our fellow man, it would be wise for us to also consider ourselves. If we should perish today would we be satisfied with the lives we have lead, would our family be pleased at the example we have left for future generations to emulate? And most importantly…would we hear our merciful father whisper onto us, “Well done.”

May we continue to have love and understanding in our heart. Treat every verb that comes from your mouth onto someone’s ears as golden.  Change starts within. Shalom.

Life Can Still Continue

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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"When things don't go according to plan some people say, 'I just got dealt the wrong set of cards.'  And when I hear that, I start to think...well...whose actually playing?" says Nicholas James Vujicic (affectionately known as 'Nick'" (born 4 December 1982) is a preacher and motivational speaker born with Tetra-amelia syndrome--a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs.  

As a child and through the struggles a young one must have had growing up, he eventually came to terms with his disability and started his own non-profit Life Without Limbs – at age seventeen. Vujicic presents motivational speeches worldwide, on life with a disability, hope, and finding meaning in life.


This video below made me cry like a tiny tiny baby.  Let me know how you like it. 

Is Racism Still Alive?

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011

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Here I was minding my own business when my friend Ryan Hill on facebook asked me to weigh in on a topic posted on his page by Mr. Willam Taylor.  Appropriately titled, "SPARKS." I have copied our conversation below as our discussion is a healthy one we must continue to ask ourselves.


William Taylor writes:
Over the past few days, I’ve been reading posts on Ryan’s page concerning racism, cultural diversity and overall ignorance. I’ve justly responded with my on thoughts on the matter(s), but feel like they’ve been promptly ‘swept under the rug’ by more debates stemming from the same issues. I, for one, apologize for using a friends Facebook page as a sounding board, but am – frankly – getting tired of the ‘why me’s’. I’m sure a few of you will think that last sentence was speckled with an ample dose of ignorance, as well, but if you were to take a chance to get to know me, like Ryan has, you would realize that it’s quite the opposite, so please…hear me out.... 
The post recently added by Amora, about a man – James Anderson – being brutally slain by two right wing extremists, disgusts me. Not for the fact that this was an act of racial prejudices, but because an honest, hard working family man was killed. The thing that bothers me about this, stems at an underlying issue that is far more disconcerting to me – to let this man die in vain, would be an injustice to both him and his loved ones, and would also serve as a victory to those who committed such a heinous crime. 
Instead of the “why me’s” and simply posting the fact that “racism is still alive”, people of the world need to realize a simple fact….. THAT WE ARE ALL ONE. We are all human. Slavery ended in 1863. The Holocaust in 1945. 18 days ago, a man killed 72 people in cold blood – all the victims were white, as was the killer. In Somalia, 500,000 children are facing imminent starvation because the al-Shabab won’t allow the U.N to import food. HATRED is not going anywhere, but the way we respond to it, HAS TO. Not one race should feel the pain of these tragedies, but everyone – ALL races and creeds. The further we distance ourselves in times like these, the longer these acts of hatred and ignorance will continue.
 - This is simply, my own humble opinion. 
And yours truly writes:
Your “one humble opinion” was stated perfectly. The phrase, “WE ARE ALL ONE” seems to ignite some abstract thinking into many minds instead of dealing with the simplicity of it. 
We are all interdependent on each living, breathing organism. The naturalist in me would say, as we exhale plants “inhale”, as plants “exhale” we inhale. Common concept of carbon and oxygen… The spiritual person in me says, we are all created with a purpose to peruse that specific purpose, backed by a merciful God. The historian in me shuffles back through historical data and traces our origins back to ONE source. 
We are all one, in the sense that we all experience hate, injustice, despair. Literary leaders, religious trailblazers, and humanitarian workers have all been quoted questioning humanity’s disdain for one another from the beginning of time. Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?" Mahatma Gandi’s, “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no cause that I am prepared to kill for.” “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
There has ONLY been TWO times in history were a unity in the American people was tangible: 1, the 6.9 earthquake in 1989 (killing over 60 people and about $6 billion in expenses) and 2, the four coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda otherwise known as 9/11. I remember walking out of my house and stumbling and at least 4 people came to help me up. The hurt partnered with a thankful mindset for life created a blanket of harmony—although short lived, was beautiful.
But the point that you are missing is clear…racism is still UNFORTUNATELY simmering on a stove of governmental policies in a pot of political gain. And as racism is still simmering, violence is its inescapable companion. For example, since Bush has left the Presidential Office, racially motivated violent outbursts have increased by 400% against President Obama. (The highest number on record.) There has also been an increase in the number of anti-immigration groups throughout the country. These groups grew from 173 in 2008 to 309 in 2009, a rise of nearly 80%. 
I agree with what Ryan has said in response to slavery. The abomination of slavery is, in fact, over…but there is a pain that is associated even with the very word as slavery has affected lives of the old. The most influential way of storytelling is oral tradition. Stories passed down from generation to generation. And while black hurt as been passed down, paralleled are stories of white supremacy are passed down as well. We cannot simply touch on a matter without understanding its origins or subsequent actions. Now should a black man or woman sit back and use that ideology as an excuse to be unsuccessful? No…but it is what it is. 
As racism’s companion is violence its counterpart is power. Our world produces enough food to feed every mouth suffering from hunger. World agriculture produces 17 % more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 % population increase. Which leads us to the topic of poverty. The causes of poverty include an individual’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. Racisim+violence+power= a self destructing world drowning in a conundrum of contentment. 

And I will stop here before I start rambling more. I’ll have you know, William, I told Ryan last night that I am in love with your mind.

If you care to weigh in on the discussion, by all means...do so. :)

Sex is the Easy Part (Pt. 2)

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011

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When you're dreaming with a broken heart the waking up is the hardest part. Not because of love lost, but because who will be around to deal with you when you cant?

As the only man growing up around women, my thoughts, ideas, and concepts were quickly shoved under the rug.  I couldn’t be too emotional about a problem, couldn’t express my concerns, wants, and needs because I had to be a man.  My mother had an addiction problem and left me.  She’d say she’ll be back, but I wouldn’t see her at times for months. I became very good at charming my way into things. You see...if they can't see the hurt behind the smile, we have a win/win situation.  I got used to charming my way into hearts and subsequently, I learned how sex was my greatest asset. 

I would walk around with my hand out waiting for a woman to help me. Too prideful to ask a brother, cuz a woman always understands. Men make no excuses, women have purses filled with them. 

Cece was a good one. She'd give me rides when needed...offer bus tokens from her mothers stash and cooked for me when I asked. Who needs a car when there's always a willing woman?  Queta, was drama for me and I lived it, loved it.  Her attention made me feel like a king and I loved going to her house, leaving messes on her floor and food to see if she’d bring it to me the next day.  Even when she got into a relationship, to hear her say she wished it was I made me walk on cloud 9.

Rina, said she’d always be there for me and didn’t mind if it took me 3 hours on the bus to get to her..she'd given me a child, the least I could do was sex her from time to time. Toni wrote my proposals, cooked for me, took me to rehearsals, and introduced me to everyone I know now--not to mention she let her little girl love me. What I love most is a woman with a child, though.  That let’s me know she has to take care of business because if she doesn’t work, her child won’t eat.  Let’s me know she isn’t accustomed to handouts and won’t be asking me for any.

Each one of you speaks to my insecurities while I'd create problems that didn't exist to artfully push each one of you away...a woman's heart is my playground.

You see...at the end of the day, there will always be one who gets me. Who will play hard to get until suddenly she gives in. So I charm her. Pull her into my lyrical kingdom, spit bars around her thighs, whisper rhymes between them...blow a lil air up there to hear her moan. Cuz it feeds my ego. I know she love my big ego.

Somewhere between rhyme and reason I should have learned sex is the easy part. And waking up is the hardest part. 


(stay tuned for Pt. 3)

Get OUT My Mind

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

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"What are you doing in here?" I ask.  He's not in here.  I know he's not.  I close my eyes, and open them slowly. Oh my God he is here.  I lounge across the room. "No, no...put that book down.  And that one too!"

Everything is out in the open now, I couldn't hide anything if I wanted to. I'm exposed...I might as well be standing there naked in front of him. A barely audible whisper escapes my mouth, "put it back on the shelf in alphabetical order please." I take a deep breath, close my eyes and slowly open them...drawing courage from somewhere I didn't know existed.  "I asked you a question, Raphael...what are you doing in here?"

As he stands there, his cologne reaches me...slicing through my barriers of protection...combating the sweet musk of my books in their mahogany shelves.

I look around the room of my treasured possessions.  I looked at the rows and rows of books, manuscripts, poems, words, photographs...my life cataloged in one room.

Every book in here I wrote
Some I'm not too proud of
Some I wish I could burn
So many pages I wrote
Wish I could revise them
But there's no erasing
And the best advice I got was....
         keep writing
 
"Oh...nothing. Just looking, turning the pages. You've got some good material," he says with that smirk I used to love.  Should I just run? Should I scream? All I want to do is cry--
"I even took a few pages out that book over there.  I found it quite interesting.""Of what book?!"  He laughs. "Antoinette, what's wrong? Relax! I took a few from the big one over there.  The purple one on the stand."

The title of that purple book was, "My heart."

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The question of the day is...who are you going to allow in your mind's library? Who will you grant the access to rip pages from your heart's surface and will stumble upon your "how-to" booklet's to reach your precious inner core's being?   Take it step by step...day by day...and remember, there's no talking in the library.


HT: Dust


A Beautiful Heart

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Monday, June 27, 2011

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The heart is the catalyst to the life of our frail body’s, without it we would cease to exist as it is one of the most important organs in our body. In science and literature, the heart is always taking spotlight.
When a break up occurs, we hear that someone’s heart is broken. We never hear that someone’s mind is broken, or their lung is broken--always the heart.

With my linear way of thinking, I can’t help but compare a beautiful heart with a scientific approach. As I sit and think about the heart expanding and contracting, delivering blood filled with oxygen to nourish our muscles and brain…I think about our daily situations. What positive affirmations do we hear causes us to expand? What negative phrases or disagreements cause us to contract? Dr, Dean Ornish writes in his book: Love and Survival. The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy:

“…love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well... I am not aware of any factor in medicine -- not diet, not smoking, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery—that has greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death from all causes.”

A beautiful heart to me is a heart that although maybe overworked from skipping beats, torn from palpitations, a bleed from an emotional rapture…continues to beat still encouraging life and growth. We can sit here and list all of the attributes that make up a heart: compassionate, kind-hearted, giving, sacrificial, nurturing…but a heart that continues to move firmly through the chemicals of life experiences, and through the weight of disenchantment in a failed relationship, is the most worthy of them all.

a-beautiful heart

Nothing to Write

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2011

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I’ve had nothing to write about...similar to an open uninhabited desert salivating at the drop of rain. Wait…I'm doing too much. It's not that my life isn’t filled with small anecdotes…perhaps I should say, I haven’t WANTED to write anything. 

Sometimes writing makes things so drastically final.  And if you’ve come accustomed to the things I write, you’ll see they are mostly positive like I’ve “got it together.”  The truth is, I don’t…

Sometimes people find it odd when I’ve had a bad day, week, maybe month. “Antoinette, let me run this past you.” “Antoinette, can you offer me some advice…” “Antoinette, why aren’t you smiling?”  The reality is…how in the world can someone expect you to be on all the time?

Last week I had about three different people—completely unrelated in any form or fashion, come to me and tell me a certain colleague was talking about me.  It didn’t bother me none, particularly because I don’t care too much for her anyway, but when I saw her I knew I had to say something. I don’t know about you, but my book of the law says  “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." Well, unfortunately she didn’t listen…she pretty much didn’t care.  And it REALLLLYYYY took all of the strength I could muster to not punch her in her face.  All in all, her major quorum was she believed I don't speak to her or smile when I see. Which naturallyyyy allowed her to come the conclusion that I am sometimey. [Insert sarcasm here] 

But what really bothered me was that her grading scale was comparing me to my twin sister.  Nicole is the opposite of me, always smiling and saying hello to everyone.  My attitude is what you see is what you get.  I don’t know how to smile if someone has crossed me….I didn’t learn how to smile when I have absolutely nothing to smile about it.  When I’m happy I’m happy….when I’m not…I’m just not.

Needless to say.  I haven’t been writing because I simply didn’t feel like it.  I’ve really only been doing what I wanted to do…not because it was right or wrong…but the authenticity in my emotions compelled me to.

If you gain anything from this post it is this: your feelings have authentic value. If you’re happy, share that happiness with the world so much that your smile is contagious. If you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum with your emotions, stay there for a while.  Live it, breath it, cry it out, and move on.  There’s no use in putting on a band-aid so tight that air doesn’t filter through for healing.

My Encounter with Sexual Abuse

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2011

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The Spring 2011 issue of Heed hones in on the topic of abuse. Many of the features and editorials in this edition shed light on the prevalence of abuse—in its many forms— families, communities, and pop culture.

Amongst the stories of celebrities, you will find my personal and transparent encounter with sexual abuse. It was a tough story to write, but I'm glad it's out there. "When Dark Nights Birth A Beautiful Heart" 
 
Support the movement.

Click here to purchase a copy.


How Sweet the Whistle

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011

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A few days ago I was at my favorite nail shop off La Brea and Rodeo about to get all fancy. "chào buổi sáng" good morning I say as I walk into the nail shop. (Yes, don't hate...I know a few vietnamese words).  I'm ushered in like VIP, hooked up with the warm water for my toes and offered some water.  As soon as Kim starts taking the polish off, she looks at my necklace and stops. A few beats pass and she says, "That whistle...that...whistle...where did you get it?" I said happily like an ignorant American that feels good for any minor donation, "it's for charity, you know about it?"  Kim started to cry and said, "yes, I know all about it." 


You see, around my neck that day was a whistle necklace. An old school whistle that was symbol of Falling Whistles, (FallingWhistles.com
a nonprofit started by Sean Carasso after a trip to the war zone fo the Democratic Republic of Congo.  I happened to see the whistles hanging up in my favorite shoe boutique in the Beverly Center and after reading the story I purchased two whistles at $34.95.  After Sean came upon an illegal prison for children, he learned boys too small to carry guns, are forced out to front-lines armed only with whistles with instructions to make as much noise as possible. As the enemies approached, the children would be shot in hopes to quiet them. Being a mother, I was deeply touched by this story.  Children ripped from the loving embrace of their mothers are forced into a prison only to be misused, mistreated, and the valve of their life destroyed. 


Upon returning home, Carasso struggled with what to do about the innocent bloodshed in Congo. Then one day, a friend placed a whistle around his neck and said, “No matter where you go, make sure you keep those boys alive in your heart.” It was then that Falling Whistles was born.


It's impossible to know how taking a stand for a wonderfully conscious cause can not only be a conversation starter, but bring about an awareness in places least expected.  I was in a nail shop off all places...and a woman a woman from Vietnam, about 6,000 kilometers away from the Congo, knew about the injustice of tiny body's being sacrificed for an inhuman and unjust war. 


One of my favorite quotes is, "If you don't stand for nothing, than you'll fall for anything."  What will you stand for?  Whether its the walk of faith or taking a stand for a positive cause, do it! You'll be surprised by how effective you'll be. 





Sex is the Easy Part (Pt. 1)

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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I can make you scream, shout, and moan.  Toes curling, body thrashing about as if it wasn't your own.  I can make the brass, flute, and horn section of your body reach notes darkly beautiful as I am the conductor to your symphony, baby.  Headboard knocking the wall on some real, "I think the neighbors know my name."

Can I...touch you there?  Taste you and lick you there? Your body moving rhythmically with mine, legs intwined, because I own this. I   own     this...physical manipulation. Because you see, baby...sex is the easy part.

Sex is the manipulation that gets people in trouble. Your body becomes no longer your own...days spent with a wet "nana" as you cross and uncross your legs under your desk at work...plaguing yourself with memories of your physical dance from the night before. (Does a soul tie ring a bell?)

How many times did you have an argument with your loved one and the only resolve was sex? You see...during sex, no one is responsible for an adult, in-depth conversation.  I'm gonna work her so good I'll make her forget.  No one is held accountable for a real resolution to a problem.

And let's be real...sex, without the covenant of marriage is complicated. Yes, the bible tells us about fornicators and where they're going. That we must abstain from the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)....our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19)...we have been bought with a price so we should glorify God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20)...that the marriage bed is the only place that will be undefiled. (Hebrews 13:4)  I get this, this is my walk...but this blog is not meant to through bible at you, but use common sense.

God gave you the ability to think, to use your natural thought process, use wisdom.  So because God instilled that on the inside of you, you using those devices from an internal place and operating from your moral campus is not you thinking you're the ish but giving thanks to God! (Some of you will get that tomorrow).

Ladies, you should know by now that I'm a "soft feminist." I encourage you to use Godly wisdom and not accept mediocre.  You are more than just a good lay, a soft body, and a wet hole.  Save that good good for your husband--a man worthy of all of you.  The most telling sign of a man that's a complete lame is one who will always divert the conversation to becoming physical.   "Babe, I need you." You answer, "why, is everything ok?"  "yes," he answers. "I just wish you were my hand is right now."  YUP...ladies, run away.

Sex is always the easy part.



RIP Elizabeth Taylor

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Hollywood icon, Elizabeth Taylor was quite possibly the first celebrity sooo glamorous you wanted to not only be, but smell like her. ((Sigh)) Ms. Taylor, 79, passed away today of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital 

In her last notable interview with Harper's Bazaar Mag she says:
“I never planned to acquire a lot of jewels or a lot of husbands, I have been supremely lucky in my life in that I have known great love, and of course, I am the temporary custodian of some incredible and beautiful things.

The former child star and two-time Academy Award winner not only famous for such films: “National Velvet,” “Cleopatra,” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” but she was known for her impressive diamond jewelry collection and a plethora of marriages, twice to Richard Burton and 7 other marriages.

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Hip Hop Legend Nate Dog Passes at 41

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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Fans and celebrities alike are pausing with reflection as word spreads that hip-hop artist and vocalist Nate Dogg passed away today. Rod McGrew, his longtime manager confirmed to CNN that Nate Dogg, born Nathaniel Hale, died at the age of  41.


Celebrities have been tweeting away:


Snoop Dogg
We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met



Ludacris
There is a certain void in hip hop's heart that can never be filled.Glad we got to make history together. RT @: RIP NATE DOGG.

with the top tweet being Erykah Badu's:



ErykahBadu
Nate Dogg... freshness period. rest in beats.


As of Wednesday, McGrew told CNN that the family has yet to receive an official cause of death, although McGrew believes the artist died of natural causes. Complications from the two strokes Hale suffered in the past few years could have been a factor as well.
Not many of us know of what the lengend was experiencing as it was kept moderately under wraps.  May he rest in peace.  
here's the story on CNN

I Cried in the Middle of Starbucks

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Friday, February 25, 2011

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Two days ago I cried in Starbucks. Any of you who knows me personally is aware of my challenges with people ranging from family members to school teachers labeling my daughter autistic. To put it frankly, my daughter doesn’t fully communicate vocally.

It’s hard when the world is against you and the only comfort you have is trusting your mother instinct.  So what did I do? I doubted myself, questioned God, and put my daughter through a series of tests.  Now some people reading this post will say, “well, you have to rule out what is it,” “it’s better to catch the issues at a young age.”  And naturally, I followed suite.   But you know what the problem is?  I was treating my daughter like a sickness and mirroring Western medicine.  In our Western practices, we use science in a very analytical way...combining chemical compounds to treat our illnesses while ruining our body's natural defenses. And while I admire the doctor's persistence and affluent abilities, the challenge is perception. Doctor's commonly have a rigid focus and treat symptoms with as much medicine our frail bodies can handle instead of adopting holistic views to marry seamlessly with science. 

So, I said all that to say…I was treating my daughter as an ailment. I was ruling out all possibilites of what it could be.  I was listening to what other’s told me and not trusting my natural maternal instincts. I remember chanting silently to myself, “I am doing the right thing” as I looked into the rearview mirror and saw my daughter’s miserable expression. In her tiny face, I read so much.  I read, “mommy, I communicate in a way that’s comfortable for me” “mommy, I show you my love, why do I have to tell you?” “mommy, I’m ok.” 

I woke up with a defiant strength 4 weeks ago. THAT’S IT, NO MORE TESTS!  No more playful exams with blocks and motor skills assessments…no more piercing eyes watching her every move…silently righting on a pad.  THAT STUPID PAD THAT ALL DOCTORS MUST PURCHASE TOGETHER AT SOME WHOLESALE STORE.

Needless to say, two days ago I was waiting on my soy dulce latte with my daughter reading her book. She turned the page, pointed out a few pictures, and said “fishy, red, blue, robot” all of the simple and expected words.  Then she turned the page and started  smiling.  She opened her perfect  little mouth  and  sang, “twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.”   It was there, at that moment that time stood still.  I looked at my daughter, dropped to me knees and wrapped my arms around her little body. And there I was with tears streaming down my face, IN THE MIDDLE OF STARBUCKS singing twinkle, twinkle little star.

It’s a beautiful feeling having all of the self-doubt wash away.  There is a reason why God blesses us with our children.  It’s because He trusts us to raise them, but while we are raising them they are raising us.  Let’s let our stars grow and watch as they twinkle. 

Beyonce meets Blackface

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011

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L’Officiel, one of the top French magazines, is celebrating it's 90th anniversary and has asked Beyonce to grace it's March 2011.  This issue is geared towards honoring legendary Nigerian singer and activist, Fela Kuti and has therefore styled Beyonce in African Garb and--get this--blackface. Yes, you read that correctly.  Beyonce willingly let the magazines make up artists paint her face stopping at her neck.


L’Officiel writes,

“The Fashion magazine is about to celebrate its 90th birthday. To celebrate this anniversary, the festivities start with the March issue, with Beyoncé on the cover. She agreed to pose for an incredible fashion shoot, with the theme of African Queen, paying a tribute to the legendary Fela Kuti. Far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce, the beauty posed for the magazine with amazing fashion designers clothes, but also in a dress created by her mother. [It is] A return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened. All the pictures will be available in the collector edition, on sell at the end of this month.”

Ok...let's begin with fail # 1 "Far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce" are they insinuating that African culture isn't glamorous r was that statement just badly written? Fail # 2 "A return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened" now, typically I take the route of reporting...but COME ON.  Even if L' Officiel and Beyonce didn't mean to stir up controversy with the blackface...I wouldn't expect them to be that stupid.  Here's the thing you might not know--Beyonce is actually black.  So she doesn't NEED to darken her face.

[DISCLAIMER: Here is when I go off on a tangent.] A black women returning to her "African roots"?!?! Beyonce isn't from Africa she's from Houston, Texas...so returning to her roots means returning to texas.  I'm a melting pot of black, latin, native american, and european....born and raised in Los Angeles.  I would slap the person that told me to return to my roots. And yes, yes, we can speak on the horrible reality of slavery and what took place.  People ripped from their families, land, and culture coupled with generation after generation of self-hatred. A self hatred so immense that brothers don't want to mess with anything darker than a milky way so women press their hair on a regular, resort to lightening cremes, or death defying silicone injections. Let's not forget how our brothers and sistas try to "come up" on each other or and blame THE MAN on why they can't find a job--accepting defeat when really that could be translated into lacking the willpower to move forward. These things are all very real...but that's not what we're discussing now.

Back to the matter at hand...this magazine failed for me.  I am offended by this sham of a way in honoring Fela Kuti, a man wholly concerned with the freedom of Africans throughout the Diaspora.
At first glance, the photograph just looks ridiculous.

While I understand the impulse to use Beyonce as the model for an “African Queen” since she reigns for black woman under Oprah, would it have been difficult for her to stay as she naturally is? She simply could have been in the editorial with beautiful African attire with a hint of edge.  OR why not have Kuti's son, Femi Kuti, or a real African model?

Here's a quick behind the scenes look:



Questions...questions...questions.

The Man I Loved Could Never Love Me

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011

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I recently had the worst day of my life.  I realized that the man I love is incapable of loving me the way I need to be loved. Does he love me? Yes...is it the way I need to be loved? No.  It's important to know what you need in an individual and not settle for something mediocre. And how does one know how they need to be lived? Through a lot of self reflection, knowing what you like and don't like...having a thorough understanding of your identity. 

Now I could go into how he had some chick call me (WITH SOME IRREFUTABLE INFORMATION that made me cry like a baby) but what would be the point? LADIES, there’s SOOOO much more I could get into that would literally tarnish everything he’s worked for…but I have class, and to be honest, a little more concern for his well being than I should so I’ll operate on a higher level. 

Sometimes we walk around in a daze…hoping that the person that we have given our hearts to will help us grow, will invest in us, will hang on our every word.  That knows what we can and cannot eat (for health reasons) so will be thoughtful in selecting a restaurant.  An ultimate witness in our life, through the good decision-making and bad…and his witnessing won't subtract, but will be a seamless and beautiful addition to our life.

I think because women are natural nurturers and philanthropists at heart—we put up with more than what we should. Love is very simple when a person assumes the face of humility, and will sacrifice to make things happen. 

When a person reaches a level of success on a minor scale—it’s always a perfect indicator of what’s to come. Ladies, have you ever known a man who was feeling himself so much, he’s incapable of communicating with you? So you sit there and tell yourself, “no, he’s just busy…they’re running him crazy…he’s got a lot on his plate.”  Case in point, he took me to dinner and begged me to try to let him be there emotionally for me (well after we broke up, and I had retracted my time and emotions from him).  The next day my sister and I came to a disagreement so what did I do? I called him to see his response.  Let me just say he failed.  We as women always want to give men the benefit of the doubt before they have even earned it from us.

I guess right now I’m on some new sh*^ and being perfectly transparent because otherwise how else would I grow, or would help others grow. 

PS..
That "some chick" I mentioned earlier isn't just "some chick." But like I said...HIGH ROAD.

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