The Top 5 Places I’d Travel If I Could Go Anywhere

Haiti is absolutely beautiful and I hope I get to go one day

Last night I was dreaming with my eyes open. I opened the Living Social app on my phone and scrolled through pictures of cities with gleaming lights and pristine beaches. This winter had me longing for spring.  (And now that spring has sprung, it’s ceded place back to winter!)  But I’m not just lusting after the pretty weather; I’m ready to bounce. I want to go somewhere. Throw my stuff in a suitcase and step on a plane to see something new. But alas, I am a travel junkie who is currently grounded.

What places would you travel to if you had a free ticket and a pocketful of cash?

My current budget doesn’t allow for a lot of travel, so I save my yearly trips for the events that I absolutely cannot miss.  Road trips are a specialty of mine; pop in a CD, let Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides hit my ears, and I can drive for hours.  In 2014, I’m looking forward to the annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam, which takes place in Greenville, SC. My good friend is getting married in Tallahassee, FL, in the summer and it will be wonderful to hit up my old stomping grounds.

I just want to travel to eat and dance my way around the world, get lost in crowds, see beautiful people and places and things. I’m not worried…I know I’ll get there one day. I will color my daydreams with fancy until they become concrete beneath my sandals. See you on the other side of the world.

I am patiently waiting my turn to hop on a plane and travel the globe. Until then, I’m biding my time and researching inexpensive ways to get places I plan on going. Here are five places that are on my Let’s Go List!

Read more at Truly Tafakari!

Why This Christian Doesn’t Watch Tyler Perry Films

Tyler Perry got Shemar Moore messed up.
Those CORNROWS! Jesus didn’t die for this.

When I found out that my church’s women’s group was going to see The Single Mom’s Club, I groaned. Every time a Tyler Perry movie comes out, my church takes it as an opportunity for fellowship and discussion. As much as I like socializing, I never “make it” to those outings. I always felt too cowed by their unadulterated love for his work to speak up, but newfound keyboard courage compels me to admit: I avoid watching Tyler Perry films. All of them. 

When asked by church members about how I liked this or that Tyler Perry film, I stammer, unwilling to lie. But the truth has always been more complicated than “I hated it.”

My first introduction to Tyler Perry was all love.  His stage plays presented some of the classic elements of Black comedy: absurdity laced with truth and a hearkening to the commonality of the Black experience in America. That Perry buttressed his plays with Gospel music and a thread of Christian morality only served to endear him to my folk, church folk.  The Madea brand bore all the hallmarks of “acceptable entertainment”: no cussin’, no violence, no sex, and the unredeemed singing salvation in a neat bow at the end. I devoured every bootleg copy I saw, shooting up a prayer of forgiveness to God when Perry started tagging his DVDs with “don’t bootleg me, bro” pleas to the masses.

About a year later, I heard Tyler Perry was coming out with a Madea movie. Churches announced viewing fellowships. Friends pledged to go once, twice, triple-checking tickets to ensure no theater okie-doke got past them.  I couldn’t wait.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman was both celebration and swan song for my support of Perry’s work.  Crestfallen, I struggled to admit that I hated the movie. The very elements that made Tyler Perry a good writer of stage plays made him an awful first-time film writer and director. My Black church folk loved it, though, and rallied from all corners of the Cross to praise Jesus for Tyler Perry’s ministry.  With such commercial success, another film was sure to follow.  I reasoned he must have had first-time kinks to work out; I held my breath and hoped for a brighter day.

Nine years and thrice as many films later, I have long since given up hope.

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari!

Crossing over Jordan Davis: On the Importance of Black Rage

Black rage shows our humanity.

This is an essay supposedly about the importance of Black rage for Jordan Davis and other Black children and all I can feel is this soul-numbing sadness. I have become an ostrich in regards to court cases involving Black children: I stubbornly refuse to read any articles or to acquaint myself with the circumstances until the sands of time have run out and the verdict has been reached. So while most of America formulated their opinion months ago, I procrastinated.

Catching up on the news this week rendered me hopeless. My hands are as empty as the space at the Davis family’s dinner table. My thoughts scatter like buckshot every time I attempt to wrap my mind around the idea that someone can shoot you in a car, cause your death, and theoretically not be punished for that specific crime. Most days I can find the nuance in seemingly gray areas–but this is black and white. Racism.

Jordan Davis was a unique Black boy but I feel déjà vu looping me into a cyclical nightmare. My heart has been here before.

And it’s only a matter of time before we are here yet again. Because racists will keep killing our children as long as they believe it is their right to do so. As they have always done. And wading in a river of sadness will never do any permanent good. I have a feeling that those who hate my people would love nothing more than to watch us drown our sorrows in a chorus of “We Shall Overcome,” while the someday we await never happens.

Read more at Truly Tafakari!

Follow my race and pop culture blog, TrulyTafakari.com!

Don't miss the blog relaunch on 1/1/14 at www.trulytafakari.com!

Hey there, new readers!

Side note: I’ve always felt strange addressing people on any social media platform as “followers.” It feels self-aggrandizing to me and I’m not quite there yet. I’m grateful anyone reads my writing. But I digress…

If you’ve recently followed this blog, you may notice that I don’t post very often. That’s because this site is my professional face; I get down, dirty and goofy at my new blog (as of January 2014)  TrulyTafakari.com. I occasionally cross-post here so you all won’t feel neglected. 🙂

Here’s a sampling of essays I’ve written recently over at Truly Tafakari:

How My Husband and I Paid Off All Our Debt

For Black Mothers Who Have Considered Shears When Blue Ivy’s Hair is Enough

Confession: My Sundays Are Segregated and I’m Okay with That

On Wonder Woman’s Wedgies and Comic Book Modesty

I’d love to have you over at my new digs…stop by for a visit!

d. tafakari 

 

Love Letter to Black Women

love letter to black women
Speak, sister.

This is a love letter to Black women, my sisters. I have never loved anyone quite as hard as I have loved you. This is not to say that I have not loved others well or loved them deeply, because I have. But loving you is hardness, requiring the density of commitment fortified by an enamel of truth. This love is jewelry decorating the wrapping of my skin–I could no more remove it than I could unzip my blackness, fold it, and pack it in a suitcase.

I know living in this world in your skin is no picnic. Because you are more than breasts and thighs and ass; they can nibble at your three piece but never lay claim to your biscuits. They will try to consume you, nibble at the meat of your magic until they spit out bones, but they will never grind you to gristle: You carry the marrow of Nzinga. They can reduce you to angry, hot gravy, thick and brown, but never pinpoint your savor. They try to pluck your femininity, call it oversexed.  And always, you scratch back when bitten. You are fly, love, but you ain’t never been chicken(heads).

Read more at Truly Tafakari…