I Cried in the Middle of Starbucks

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



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



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 BeyoncĂ© 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:


The Man I Loved Could Never Love Me

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



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. 

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

Please Don't Yell...It Hurts My Head

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011



 I find it quite interesting that I find myself in a paradox of sorts...on one end I'm getting e-mails from readers asking to write more on media and gossip.  On the other hand, I'm getting Christian's asking me why I am writing any secular topics it all. And although I appreciate your concern...did sending an e-mail in all caps make you feel better. (Yes, you...I'm talking to YOU).

Let me put it simply...this is my blog; AKA...an outlet for my expression.  My banner has always been "AtypicalAnecdote: God, Life, and Observations all aggregated in a progressive pot of goodness."  Let's dissect the matter...this blog is my pot of gumbo...and in that gumbo I speak on my religious beliefs, and mainstream stories that draw some type of surprising emotion from me.Whether is draws my sarcasm, anger, love...I'll write on it.

I love that each of you read my blogs and send me e-mails on them.  Just know that I am not that writer that falls into a certain type of genre...exploration is key to elevation.