Sunday, November 30

Hands Up In The Air

By: Trey Anthony

4.5 minutes after I read that a grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson, I sent a text to my sister in North Carolina.
"You need to get my baby out of that f*&&ing racist place called the U.S. south!" 
'My baby' being my one year old precious baby nephew. A few weeks before my sister had sent me a video of my nephew at a Yo, Gabba Gabba concert, a one year old at his first live musical concert! He is wiggling and dancing in my sister's lap. Dimpled fat cheeks, laughing, eyes wide open, hands up in the air. I watched that video on repeat, laughing, tears rolling down my cheeks.

My sister and I text back and forth debating on where is the safest place to raise a young black boy. What city can he be guaranteed a chance to reach manhood? We can't think of one... 

The absurdity of our conversation is not lost on me, neither is the realism of the conversation; we are trying to save a life. Later, my mother weighs in on the conversation, after all, this is her first and only grandchild. She has the audacity to want this little boy to live.  She has plans to attend his foot ball games, piano recitals, graduation, perhaps some day if she allows herself to dream boldly... his wedding. We know if we do not act soon we will run out of time. My mother shares that she has read on the internet that Hawaii has the least amount of black men in prison, plus she assures me that President Obama was raised there.  Do we dare to hope that he could live? And perhaps some day even be president? We quickly do the math. My sister had three more years to finish her PHD, and then as a family, we can swiftly make our exodus to Hawaii!  We speak in hushed, nervous but excited tones.  I swallow the rising bitterness that begins to swell in my throat and grow in my heart as the realization hits me that this is a conversation my white friends will never ever have to have with their mother or sister. In three more years my precious baby will only be four years old. His black skin and maleness will not yet be deemed a threat. Now when he puts his hands up in the air, he is an adorable, dancing baby. For now he is safe...

I read the transcripts of Mike Brown's friend, Dorian Johnson, who was with him the day he was gunned down by officer Wilson.  I learn that Mike Brown also had his hands up in the air,  as officer Wilson fires several shots which hit Mike Brown's,black body, two of them in his head. Before he falls to the ground, Mike Brown, gasps, " I don't have a gun..."   

As I continue to read, the ever present black fatigue threatens to overtake me again; the bitterness I can no longer swallow.  Hawaii seems too far away. I fear that we are running out of time.  I know with certainty that death can creep upon black boys lives in an instant, when they are on their way home from buying skittles, or as twelve year olds playing in a park, or when their hands are up in the air.  I know their lives aren't worth much. No matter have many hash tags are now trending I know that #blacklivesdontmatter. 

But I need my precious baby's life to matter.  It has to matter!  I'm haunted by Travon Martin, Mike Brown, and Tamir Rice. I wonder if their families ever planned an exodus to Hawaii. I wonder if their mothers quickly did the math. I wonder if they knew they were running out of time. I wonder if black fatigue overtook them. I wonder if they knew their son's lives didn't matter. I wonder what was Mike Brown's last thoughts before he was gunned down with his eyes wide open, his hands up in the air....I replay over and over the video of my baby, he is dancing, laughing, eyes wide open, his hands up in the air. Tears rolling down my cheeks.

Thursday, November 27

Quvenzhané Wallis Slays Hard Knock Life Performance On Dancing With The Stars

by: April D. Byrd

This performance of Hard-Knock life by Quvenzhané Wallis and company was fierce. If you didn't catch it on the show Dancing With The Stars here's the replay, or even if you did it's worth watching again...or several times. The awesome young star who we first came to love in Beasts Of The Southern Wild is back at it again.

Quvenzhané  is starring in the remake of the film "Annie" which is opening in theaters on December 19th.  I'm looking  forward to seeing her performance in the film even more now. Go girl!!

Watch Below:

Are we agreed this was the cutest thing ever?! and how much are we loving that the host was pronouncing her name right! Leave your thoughts/comments below, and Join in on the conversation on Trey Anthony's Facebook Fanpage.

-- April D. Byrd is the Creator and Editor-In-Chief of

Tuesday, November 18

Why Solange's Wedding Fro Was The Real MVP!!

Congratulations to Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson on their recent wedding that  "broke the internet". After the recent Kim K magazine cover that the media was buzzing about, it's good to have some pure, decent, good news floating around. That  moment when you break the internet for showing your class, instead of your a** well anyway... weddings are always a good look for pop culture!

Solange was classy at her wedding indeed! We're rejoicing with her and wishing her all the best this time around.  Can we talk about that fabulous fro now?! That baby was a game changer! Solange's wedding is blowing up social media for being stylish and unique, but the fro itself is worth the buzz! when was the last time you saw a sista' or anyone rock a beautiful fro to their wedding?

Congrats to that beautiful fro!  It's not often that we see women rocking their natural fro to their big day. The natural movement has had a lot of glory thanks in part to Solange being an advocate. Her wedding fro was definitely a positive statement. Be yourself, be comfortable in your own skin...and hair.

We've been lauding Solange's transition ever since she started her natural journey and she has always made a statement with it. She's continually given others the confidence to love our natural texture. I consider that going bare for the right reasons. It's rare not to see a lot of make-up, gloss and glam at weddings.  Consider this blog a toast to Solange's vows before God, to her fabulous hair, and embracing natural beauty in a society that exploits photo shop, cosmetic surgery, and fictionalized beauty ideals!! Salud!!

Kudos to Solange for rocking her natural fro... oh yeah... congrats on the wedding too!

Beautiful wedding fro, you're the real MVP!!

Ladies, Gentleman would you rock your natural fro to your big day? How simple would you go? Leave your thoughts/comments below on Solange's wedding day fro, and Join in on the conversation on Trey Anthony's Facebook Fanpage.

-April D. Byrd is the Creator and Editor-In-Chief of 

Friday, November 7

Adoption and Teachers and Watching What You Say

by Ajike Akande

The weirdest thing happened the other morning when I dropped Z at school ON TIME!  Yes, I realize the fact that I managed to get him to school on time is, in itself a weird thing, but it’s not the weird thing I’m referring to.   (You’ll be happy to know if you read my posts about my encounters with the Late SlipLady last year, that Z has been late only five times this school year!)
The weird thing took place when I ran into his teacher who has been on parental leave since last January, when Z was in grade 1, and will be returning as his teacher this coming January.  We started chatting about Z’s struggles in math, which are significant and out of the “everybody learns at their own pace” range.  She said, “Well you don’t know the family history, right?”  Wait, what?  Come again? 

If you are new to my almost weekly blog posts, Z is adopted.  He came home at four months.  He was born close to Toronto, where we live and our adoption was through the public system.  He is awesome.  He is also a kid, so sometimes he hides his awesome.  I am happy to tell you all of these things.  On most days, Z is happy to tell you these things.  What I am not happy to share, nor do I appreciate be asked about, are the details of his family history.  I also do not appreciate the assumption that the more challenging things about him, such as his inaptitude for math, are connected to his family history, which, of course, is assumed to be bad. 

I am not saying that family history, medical and otherwise, is not significant, but as Z’s parents, Wife and I can, with or without asked-for support, consider the role of our son’s birth family’s history play in his current abilities and share what is necessary.  Where he comes from is important.  It’s part of his life story.  His entire life story has and will always be important but it his personal story. 

Interestingly, in this same conversation, I mentioned (bragged) that our Z will be playing a mouse in the professional production of The Nutcracker this year.  Not surprisingly, the teacher did not look sympathetically at me and say “Well you don’t know the family history!”  So his special talent in and unwavering love for, dance could not have possibly been a gift from his birth family?  Can we please stop demonizing the birth parents that place their children for adoption?  Can we please stop assuming that they have influenced their children negatively?  Please stop assuming you know where my kid comes from.  And please stop blaming his birth family.  It’s really nobody’s business what Z’s history is until he or we invite them to make it their business.

2 yr old Z ready to garden...obviously
And yes, there are occasions when a child’s history, biological and otherwise, is essential to supporting them in school, but I just wish that people would simmer down with the assumptions and trust that all parents want what’s best for the children and will share information that is relevant and important to help their children learn.  (I do know that there are parents who have kept truly pertinent information about their child, be they adopted or not, from teachers and caregivers but this is not the norm.)

Reflecting on this exchange, I wish I had told his teacher that her question/comment was inappropriate.  I also wish I had said, “What difference does his family history make? He is a student who is almost two grade levels below in math, what are you going to do about it?"  Instead of playing detective and trying to find answers for who or what caused this problem, spend some time trying to understand his needs as a learner and just teach him.  Start where he’s at (not where he should be) and teach him until he learns it.  Not easy, but kinda simple, right? 

Phew, glad that’s off my chest!  Thank you for reading my rant!

XO Ajike

* Some of you reading this may be thinking about race being a factor in the teacher’s comments.  For the record, I think it is, but I just don’t have the capacity or time to grapple with that issue in a blog post.  Additionally, I know that I really only skimmed the surface when it comes to issues around disclosure and adoption.  I hope you understand that my lack of depth here is not for lack of understanding of the issues.