Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Opportunity Needed: On Target, the New Annie Movie, and Representing Black Girls

Several years ago, I babysat a child who was behaving rather badly.  I tried all my tricks ranging from threats to hugs to bribery, but nothing worked.  The child simply refused to get it together.

The child, in a fit of rage, turned to me and said, "I need an opportunity!"

The exclamation has stuck with me for years, as I'm parenting, as I worked with my students at the university, as I dealt with difficult customers in some of my other jobs, and most recently when I took my daughters to see the new ANNIE movie.

One of Annie's songs is called "Opportunity."  And it's resonating with me today as I share this article with you, a piece over at My Brown Baby, which focuses on Target's Annie clothing advertisements in their stores which feature not a single brown girl.

For a hundred reasons, this bothers me.

The greatest is this:  my girls deserve to be represented rather than dismissed, ignored, and pushed aside.

This is one reason I wrote BLACK GIRLS CAN: AN EMPOWERING STORY OF YESTERDAYS AND TODAYS.  Because Black girls and women CAN and DO great things and should be recognized for it.

And we sure don't need any more messages of BLACK GIRLS CANNOT, whether that comes from an advertisement, a tv show, a book, or anything else.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Very Merry: My One December Blog Post

It's December!  One of my favorite times of the year is Christmas.  We decorate, we bake, we shop, we wrap, we read, we smile, we celebrate, we eat, we lounge, we listen.  It's sparkly, magic, miracle. It's joy, peace, and hope.  It's blessing after blessing.  It's family. It's remembering and looking forward.

When Steve and I were first married, we put up a tree that was decorated in coordinating glass, silver, and gray ornaments. It was balanced, symmetrical.  It was tidy and well-planned.

As the years passed on and the children entered our lives, our tree began to evolve.  We added ornaments from our own childhoods, plus ornaments gifted to our children.  Ornaments symbolizing first Christmases and favorite activities and characters. We began to display several Black Santa ornaments and brown-skinned angels, grinning each time our kids exclaimed, "That one looks like me!"

 Our tree went from silver and gray to a palate mirroring the rainbow.

In essence, our tree became symbolic of our family:  non-matching but more beautiful than it was before.

This year has been one of incredible blessings for our family.  My oldest started kindergarten, my middle child started preschool, my son turned one (and is almost two!).  We started homeschooling the kids (part-time).  I published a second book, wrote for both Scary Mommy and Babble, shared part of our story on Portrait of Adoption, got re-published on, went on NPR and Huffington Post Live, and continued to write for  I found out that Melissa Harris-Perry recommended my first book!  And I'm happy to share that my first book has sold over 1,000 copies!   And Steve and I successfully went on a date every month (except October).  That's huge, ya'll, when you have three kids!  We visited our kids' birth families twice, and we spent a fabulous week at Disney with Steve's parents.

We have so much to be thankful for.

2015 will no doubt be a great year!  Exciting things are coming, including my third book (co-authored with a really fabulous writer).   Meanwhile, I'll be getting my Christmas on, doing a daily devotional with the kiddos, baking cookies, wrapping gifts, and relishing in the celebration of Jesus' birth and the promise that starry night offers us all:

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  ~Luke 2:10 (emphasis mine)

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.  I hope this season has you looking up and relishing in the best gift: a savior.  Thank you for using a few moments of your precious time to read my blog.  I'll be back blogging in January.