Hearing the Voices of Children

Today was an amazing day and reminded me so much of why I wanted to become an educator. I was so overwhelmed I had to cry.

I took my Speech students to the Whitney Plantation, a wonderful place that honors the lives and stories of enslaved people in Louisiana. In my Speech class, I teach my students to respectfully use their voices, express what they are feeling, and to never shy away from saying what they have to say while remaining respectful. 

Today, my students were able to hear the voices of children who never given an opportunity to speak, because to do so could end tragically through torture or death. In hearing their voices throughout the tour, I watched as my students began to feel the impact of the hardships our ancestors faced. I watched as they felt compelled to honor those who have come before them. I watched as they felt the pain of the enslaved people, because some of their realities were very similar. I watched as they found pride in knowing that through all of their pain, there was hope for a better tomorrow.

In this field trip, I wanted to bring history to life. I wanted them to walk where the ancestors walked, feel their presence, leave questioning their goals for their future and the importance of community. They did, but ironically, it was me who walked away with something to learn.

I learned that it is important to not only guide our children through life, but learn to listen to them along the way. They need us now more than ever. As their village, we have a duty to work together so that they can fulfill their greatest potential. Hearing them out doesn’t mean giving them what they want all the time, but it does mean that we at least give them an opportunity to be heard and given the respect they need when we listen.


The Need To Be Still

We are officially on Mardi Gras break. The noise and live action are going on downtown and I am here, on the levee finding peace and serenity. 

It’s been so many years since I’ve been able to sit by a lake and just feel. To just be still. To not think. To clear my thoughts.

It’s in nature where I feel closest to God. I sit back and marvel at our Creator and how He took the time to create beautiful colors, how he allows waves to crash while the wind pushes them to their peak.The wind is one of the most intriguing mysteries I’ve ever felt. I don’t see it, but I feel it kiss my skin. I see the leaves and flowers move with its force. 

The only way I can truly be able to see and appreciate this is if I am present and still. 

I don’t know about you, but life gets pretty busy. Sometimes I am going so much I forget to eat or forget what day it is. Everything just starts to blend together. My body begins to get tired. My thoughts are always on to the next one, and I am drained. 

Taking moments like today help me to remember how much constant stillness is necessary. When too much is going on, in the back of my mind I hear God saying

Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

This verse brings me back and quiets my active life. It reminds me that in doing too much, I have replaced God with busyness. I do too much and forget that I am only one, not THE ONE. I cannot do it all and that is OK. In recent years, I’ve come to learn that busyness reveals my lack of trust in God. Where society pushes us to constantly be on the go, God wants us to trust him in the stillness.

I know that I am in need of stillness so that God can move. I really haven’t given him the room to do so over the past few months. I have learned He will move in His own time whetherI am ready or not, but my busyness doesn’t make the process easier.

On this break, I want to focus on being still. I need to remember that God is God, and I am not. I am but the creation of a mighty Creator who has a purpose for me. So I must be still and trust what he has in store for me.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” – Psalm 37:7

Interacting with Police: Some of Us Have to Start Very Early

Little black boy with his hands in the air

I was 6. 

I was told to be quiet. 

Say yes ma’am/sir. 

Keep my hands visible. 

Never reach in my pockets or purse. 

When I became a teenager and started driving, I was told to have my insurance and registration in the visor above my head. When I was being pulled over, before the cops got out of their cars,  I was told to have all of my doors locked, my window cracked, my insurance, license, and registration on the dashboard with my hands on the wheel. 

I still do all of that, but now I call someone or start recording. Yes it’s alot, but necessary. I have a family to get home to. My son, now 2, will get that lesson when he’s 4 or 5. No, it’s not too young. Statistics show police view black children appearing to be older as early as 7. This gives me 2 years to prepare.

You shouldn’t have to take diversity training to treat people with respect, but apparently, it’s necessary. Treating people humanely requires a class.

Reflecting on the Kinks:

I’m interested in knowing what have been your experiences when having to interact with cops.

  • How old were you when your parents taught you how? What did your parents tell you to do?
  • How old were your kids when you taught them? What did you tell them to do?

Product Review: Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture Curl Enhancing Essentials

Disclaimer: I have a 3b/3c hair type. The results may vary based on your hair type.

For the past 8 years, I have stuck to only 1 product line and that’s SheaMoisture. It has been my first love and still is, but last week I decided to try something new. 

I’ve always wanted to use the Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture hair care line for 3 reasons:

  1. It’s under the Sundial Brands umbrella
  2. It’s black owned

If you are even a little bit familiar with the Godmother of black hair products then you know that this line is so important to her legacy. With the black hair industry being worth over $1Billion, it has been a long time coming to see her legacy live on.

Now for the product review:

Where to buy: Sephora or their website

Cost: $28 (30.73 with tax)

What you get:

JBCO & Murumuru Oils Ultra Moisturizing Cowash

After spraying my scalp with apple cider vinegar to breakdown old product build up, I applied the cowash to my scalp. Immediately, the smell captured my attention. It reminds me of a nice warm day outside on the back porch while listening to smooth jazz. Once applying the product to my scalp, I noticed how thick the consistency was. Of course with a cowash there weren’t any suds, but after 2 washes, my hair did feel clean. 

Grade: A

Jamaica Black Castor Oil

Typically, after cowash or shampooing I would apply a hair masque to deep condition. This box did not come with one (hopefully in the future it will). For the sake of testing these products together specifically, I did not deep condition. 

I ended up using the entire bottle because it is extremely tiny. Ironically, it just so happened to be enough. The oil was REALLY thick, which I love, but at first, I thought it was a tad bit too heavy after doing a cowash and not a shampoo. I definitely would love to have this to add to my oil cocktail. 

Grade: A

Curl Enhancing JBCO & Murumuru Oils Defining Butter Cream

Now this was the creme de la creme. I love a good Moisturizer, especially one that gets the job done without using too much. This curl enhancer did leave my hair feeling exceptionally moisturized and provided a light hold. My curls were definitely defined. I can’t wait to use it again. 

Grade: A+

Reflecting on the kinks:

  • I love this line so much and would highly recommend it. 
  • This product line works well on coily to tightly coiled hair (3b-4c).
  • I would use a hair masque and leave in to use the LOC Method 
  • MCJWBC is a great line to try, but can be expensive. I appreciate having the smaller sizes to test out before  considering investing.
  • Although the line is costly, a little bit can go a very long way. MCJWBC is worth the investment.

Normalcy in the Midst of Loss

It’s like deja vu all over again. I’m at my school when a natural disaster hits. The first time, I didn’t just go without power. I went without a home, a school, family, friends…Normalcy. I was a senior in high school for only 2 weeks and it all was wiped away. Even though I could not go home the one thing my mom did, that I’ll forever be grateful for, was give me a sense of normalcy. 

Before we left, I took my books, because my mother and St. Mary’s Academy had taught me that I must always remain focused on my goals, even when I feel like it’s too hard to keep going. The world will keep moving and I will have to move with it. My teachers told me even though we were evacuating, we still had homework. I am grateful for this because while the rest of my world was crumbling, this was the only thing connecting me to what was apart of my everyday life. I was still a student.

When I no longer was allowed to go home, because there wasn’t a home to go to, I found my same teachers on Facebook and had some of their numbers. They encouraged me to continue on at my new school. They continued to push me even though I was no longer in their class. My mother put me in a new school and still had the same expectations of me to do my best. This sense of normalcy kept me from going into a deep depression. 

Here we are again, 11 years later, at the same place where it all began. Yet, this time, God spared my school. God saw fit to allow me to extend that normalcy back to my students. Their world has been shaken, but as I have seen in Baltimore, Ferguson, Flint and in my own city, educators provide normalcy to students in the middle of trials. 

Like those who have educated me, I will choose to provide a sense of normalcy for my students. They have lost, but they are still here. It is not over. There is a purpose for them to still be here. I intend to continue to walk with them as my teachers walked with me. 

Not only so, but we also find glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3‭-‬5 NIV

Back to the Basics: My 4th Natural Hair Journey

So I’ve changed my hair regiment for 2017. I am taking it back to 2009 right when the Natural Hair Movement took off.  I’ve taken my hair through so much over the past four years, and I just want to get back to the basics while using some of the tips I’ve learned along the way. My journey has been a never ending one, but it’s never too late to start over.

I am going to use products from my favorite umbrella company, Sundial Brands. Both of these product lines are black owned with a community cause.


Madam C.J. Walker

Reflecting on the kinks:

  • Shampoo once a month
  • Cowash weekly
  • Deep Condition like my life depends on it.
  • LOC Method: Leave-In, Oil, Creamy Moisturizer
  • Low manipulation hair styles
  • No heat
  • No straightening
  • No dyes

Being Present: The Lion King Live

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It’s date night with the hubs and opening night of The Lion King Live at the Saengar Theater. I haven’t been to a live theatrical play in God knows how many years, but I am so glad we decided to go.

We all know the story of The Lion King, the first black Disney animation aka the greatest Disney animation of all time (You can debate me on this! Your fave Elsa could never!). Anyway we all know the tragedy of losing the greatest black father since James on Good Times. The death of Mufasa will always be the greatest tragedy. Yet, the animation film could not do what any Disney animation, including the Princess and the Frog, which was make us human.


The play did an amazing job recapturing my childhood, but also making me see the true message of Simba’s story as an adult. The additional segments that weren’t apart of the movement really drove it home for me.

  • The daring boldness of the lionesses who took Black Girl Magic to another. Black women protecting their home, their culture, their young. Not just bowing to their King, but being the foundation that holds the kingdom together.
  • Mufasa struggling to be a strong leader in his home while trying to find the right amount of gentleness to chastise and guide his son.
  • Simba going through the stages of young rebellion without his father only being left to fall into a space of immaturity and irresponsibility.
  • Nala becoming a woman after being nurtured by the lionesses going on a journey alone to help protect her family, her home, and her way of life.
  • Simba realizing he needed that strong woman to help remind him that it was OK to go back home where he is loved and needed, and having that same woman knock him on his tail to put some sense into him.
  • The religious undertones of Simba crying out to his father whom he has run so far away from to the point He has forgotten him and who he really was. Also, the reminder that he bore the image of his father, his creator, that tells him he is worthy.
  • Not to mention the use of authentic African languages, the beautiful African clothing worn as performers danced as humans, the pouring of African pride all over this theatrical presentation, and not to mention the influence of Roots and Coming to America.
  • Lastly, before I forget, Rafiki was played by a woman. A woman with influence, wisdom, and power. Rafiki had to be my absolute favorite character. From the way she spoke in an indigenous dialect to her amazing voice to her stage presence. Just everything about her made me feel black joy.

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Reflecting on the Kinks:

Overall, it was worth every penny and I believe our community really needs to see this play. It brings out a sense of pride and ambition to remember who we are and where we come from in a time when our society wants us to forget.

1. We are image bearers.
2. We are more than what we have become.
3. We must remember our greatness in the midst of our trials and live out our true purpose.