Black Panther Matters

Black Panther… if you are one social media you have probably heard a lot about this infamous film. If you have not seen the film yet, I want to say that you should give it a try. This film means so much it has turned into a bit of a movement.

I believe that the reason that Black Panther is so special in this day in age is because representation matters. A friend of mine has recently asked did it matter that Black Panther has a black cast. And I am not here to defend his question but I just wanted to discuss it. Here I have this friend who is a blerd (black comic book nerd)  excited to see this film solely because it was Black Panther and not because it was a black film. And a small part of me understood it. I consider myself to be a blerd. I am willing to give Marvel and DC all of my money for their films but on a Tuesday where the tickets are discounted to $5. When they announced the Black Panther, I had reserved the Tuesday after opening day to go see it on my calendar (just like how I now have the Tuesday after Ant-Man and The Wasp). It actually wasn’t until I saw the first trailer that I thought that this was a badass black film and I’d be damned if I didn’t go see it opening weekend. I want and still want Black Panther to do amazingly, and break all kinds of record because I believe that when a film with people of color is winning then we are all winning (it’s the reason why I have been checking on their box office grossings every morning). I took my nieces and nephew to go see the film, because I wanted them to see and film with people who look like them and hope that they would believe that they could do anything.

What Black Panther did for me as a black person is the same thing that Wonder Woman did for me as a woman. It empowered me. I think back to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and remember thinking how cool it was to see a superhero on the screen. Just to have people like me on the screen was even more marvelous.

My nieces just entered their teens and so they are old enough to think about box office records and one of them told me (before we even saw the film) that she wanted it to be number one. It was very important for a black film to be number one because that meant that there would be more. Another told me that she felt like a lot of black films were sad and involved a time of racism or slavery and although she didn’t think it was bad, she really wanted to see something more.

Black Panther is an afrofuturistic film where these people in Wakanda on the continent of Africa would probably always be the smartest person in every single room no matter where they were. I mean Shuri is way smarter than Tony Stark (which makes me even more excited for Infinity War).

And I don’t want to give away anything about the movie but I am here for all the badassery of every single woman in that film. So go see Black Panther and if you have seen it already let’s talk about it on twitter @SaraDashClaire

 

#WAKANDAFOREVER

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I am Haitian – American!

Dear World,
Stop calling me African- American! There is nothing that boils my skin more than someone assuming I am something that I am not. I know some Americans may think that the politically correct term for calling someone of my skin tone is African-American, but I am here to say that you are wrong. Yes, it may be a little scary to call someone black, and yes, I am black but not every black person is African-American.  
In my house growing up there were always two languages spoken interchangeably throughout the day — English and Haitian Creole, with the latter used more than the former. Of the family that I have here in America my parents, oldest brother, uncles, aunts and even some cousins are immigrants from Haiti. I have more family in Haiti than I do in America. 
I have no problem with African-Americans. I don’t think it is a bad term at all, It’s just that our history, our traditions, and way of life is more different than you can imagine. When their ancestors were being enslaved here in America, my ancestors were enslaved on a French Colony. When their family gets together to eat some of the best collard greens, fried chicken, mac and cheese and/or cornbread (don’t be mad at it), My family was getting together eating legume (a veggie rice dish), poule en sauce (baked chicken in sauce),  macaroni au gratin (baked macaroni), and/or banan peze (fried plantains).
It wasn’t until I went to college when I finally realized that the music is more different than I thought. Yes, we both may listen to rap or R&B amongst other genres but there are some songs from the 60s or 70s that I have never heard but my friends know because their parents would listen to it. But while they were doing that, I heard my family playing a mix between a lot of Kompa and Celine Dion (she helped my mom learn English).
Our cultures are unbelievably different, so yeah I get upset when someone calls me African – American because to me that is erasing so much of who I am. I am American but I am and always will have another part of me to embrace. Every New Year, my family gets together to eat soup joumou (pumpkin soup) to celebrate Haitian Independence Day. Every Sunday, my mom cooks for the whole family and although it may always be a different Haitian dish, 9 times out of 10 rice is involved. I have been there when my family has watched futbol (or as we Americans like to call soccer) on a Spanish channel on mute so that they can listen to the Haitian radio explain the game. The values that Haitian parents have instilled in their children is also different, like my mom still believes she has the right to whoop me. And I laugh but it sort of is true. This is my culture, my normal. 
And to those who are Haitian but feel the need to tell that I am not. You too, are wrong. I never walk around and tell someone I am just Haitian. I always say Haitian – American. Because I lived in a bilingual house, I had to balance being American and Haitian, I dealt with the inner struggle of feeling like I was choosing one side of me over the other. That is something that I dealt with until I finally learned how to love two different cultures. My mom has kept a lot of the Haitian traditions alive in our family, as will I, once I start a family of my own. My children just like me will be Haitian-American. And no one will be there to convince them otherwise. 
Sincerely, 
A Happily Haitian American girl 

 

 

Trolls

I really don’t like trolls. 

Now I’m not talking about the cute little movie, or the dolls us 90s kids would collect when we were younger. No, I am not talking about actual trolls that live under bridges (yes, I think they’re real, maybe extinct but also a conversation for a different time) I am talking about internet trolls. The ones that hide behind their screens rudly commenting on someone else’s social media feed. 

I have dealt with my fair share of trolls, actually everytime I do it’s because I have made a statement about feminism, politics, or race. It doesn’t happen often but it happens enough to annoy the hell out of me. 

I am a very opinionated person and I will continue to share my opinions, but at the end of the day they’re just that: opinions. So when I do post something on my twitter or share a post from this blog, I am welcoming the conversation to discuss it. That is something that I am open to, yeah it may suck when I get into a little disagreement with a stranger but most of the time I do learn something and hope that they do as well. 

What I will not waste time doing is having a cyber arugument with someone who clearly gets a thrill out of it. Someone who wants to curse at me. Someone who clearly uses hastags to find people to attack (I have about 60 followers on twitter so I know the only reason why you found my tweet is because I used #Feminism). I will not stand by and and watch someone continue to use derogatory terms – you will always get blocked in my book. You don’t even have to be speaking to me personally, I just refuse to see anymore tweets by you. The block button is my favorite. 

To the trolls, I actually feel sorry for you. You have the need to be completely rude and belligerent online because something must be going wrong in your life. You clearly try to tear people down because you’re trying to bring them on your level. And to that I say I’ll put you in my prayers, and wish you the best but I will not reply to your response to my tweets and blog posts. It is okay to disagree with what I say, it is even more okay to discuss it with me but I will not sit there and argue with you. There is a way you need to go about things, and if you eventually get blocked it’s because I personally did not like the way you went about it, plus I don’t need that negativity in my life. And to anyone who disagrees with something I say go ahead and call me out on it — just don’t attack me. 

My Reaction to 13 Reasons Why

It’s as simple as this…you ever watch something, a movie, a TV show, or maybe listen to a new song and you have this weird reaction on you. The kind where you walk around for days just thinking about it. Yeah, that happens to me a lot, but most recently from watching 13 Reason Why. 13 Reasons Why is a show on Netflix about a girl who committed suicide. Each episode reveals a tape she recorded, a reason why, a person why, a person who affected or led her to her death. Led her to feeling lonely, and bruised and excluded from everyone else. I watched this show this past weekend because at first it kind of was just some drama show. A little bit more than just a teen show, not like a CW or ABC Family type thing but it was a good show. It was enticing, it really grabbed my attention, and then I finished it.

And now I can’t help but think that this show has changed me. It affected me and kind of took a toll on me. When my nieces were younger and we would watch shows and movies together, I used ask them about the lesson. “What did you learn?” I would say because everything has a message, something you should learn from it. I would say the lesson here is that our actions affect people, actually no its not only that our actions affect people but everyone takes things differently, everyone has their own crap in their life.

Hannah Baker was the main character of this show and she was dealing with a lot. She was dealing with a lot of things that made her feel like her life was not worth living anymore. But then there were all these other characters dealing with a lot as well, and one can say that they didn’t take their lives and compare them to Hannah but their story was different. I paid a lot of attention to the fact that everyone has their own walk in life. My worst day ever is not the same as your worst day ever. You have been through shit I have not and vice versa. Hannah Baker is a character in show, a character originally from a book. She’s not real but there are real people dealing with more than they can handle at this very moment. Mentally, I have been where she’s been, I have felt like life was too hard to make it to the next day.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I don’t know what made me decide to watch this show on Netflix, but I believe that I was fated into doing so at this moment in my life. The things Hannah went through, I couldn’t imagine, I don’t know what I do if I had to walked a mile in her shoes. I just know that it was hard to watch. I kept wanting to believe this show had some happy ending and we would discover that she was alive in the end. But spoiler alert she isn’t. I connected Hannah because I remember a couple years ago when I was struggling in life. I felt alone, like I drowning. I remember telling my therapist that I felt as though I was standing in the middle of the street screaming as everyone drove right past me. I was ready to kill myself. I would spend weeks sitting in my closet, in my studio apartment because that was the only place where everything was pitch black. I wasn’t going to classes or seeing my best friend. I would barely eat and when I did it was only a box of pizza I had delivered earlier in the week. I was clinically depressed, and at the time I didn’t really know why. On an early Thursday morning I reached out for professional help as the last test of life and by night fall I found myself sleeping in hospital within the psych ward.

Now you maybe wondering why the hell am I telling you this because I kind of am too. But I know why. I found the help that I needed. Yeah it sucked to reach rock bottom, but now I am at a job that I really like. I have friends and family that I really love. And I am not where I want to be in life but I am finally on the right path, I am happy. And I found myself commuting to work this morning thinking, if I ended my life that day, I would not be here now. I know everyone has crap, you never what is going on in someone else’s life, so I do try to be spread love everyday even if that means smiling at a stranger or making sure I don’t yell at the customer service representative, I try. And yes, I am not perfect, I am nowhere near there. I am at least trying and I think you should too. I am definitely at the best place I have ever been in my life right now. And watching that show seeing Hannah and those other kids struggle I discovered that I needed that reminder of where I have been and how that felt. I think you should watch 13 Reasons Why, you don’t have to watch it all in one weekend like I did but you should watch it. I think we all need a reminder sometimes of how our actions affect people, of how we all react differently to certain things, and how we shouldn’t take chances in life for granted.  I think if you are at low point in life that you should reach for help because you are worth it and so much more.  I am grateful for every moment in my life because it has made me the woman I am today and that can never mean more to anyone than it does to me right now.

If you’re thinking about suicide, 
are worried about a friend or loved one, 
or would like emotional support, 
the Lifeline network is available 24/7 in the U.S.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

For more information visit 
suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Rachel Lindsay: The Next Bachelorette

About two weeks ago, I was going through the Twitter moments, as I usually do to pass time. There was one that was talking about a girl named Rachel who is a contestant on season 21 of the Bachelor. People were expressing their love for her and it made me gain a bit of an interest on there actually being a contender who is a black women. And now as of yesterday, Rachel has been announced as being the Season 13 Bachelorette.

Now, I don’t actually watch the Bachelor or any other show in its franchise. I used to be an avid fan but stopped watching after Season 13 Bachelor Jason Mesnick. After the way his season ended I sort of vowed to not watch another season again but my curiosity for Rachel got the best of me. I actually sat down to watch the episode that aired that week which  showed Rachel’s  one on one date with the current Bachelor, Nick Viall. Immediately I grew to like her as well.

Rachel is a 31 year old attorney from Dallas, Texas. She is an intelligent woman who is both beautiful inside and out. You can see her become fairly motherly to the other women in the house and you immediately blush at her connection with Nick. She is so easily likable and that is clearly shown through the love an adoration that Rachel received from other Bachelor Nation members who tweeted their support for her.

Continue reading Rachel Lindsay: The Next Bachelorette

‘Black Lives Matter’ Does Not Mean That All Lives Do Not

Anyone who knows me would know that I am an equalist. I believe in spreading love and that everyone should have basic human rights despite their gender, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc. Since middle school debate, I learned that you should always try to understand where the other side is coming from which is something that I have always carried with me.  But there is one exception, where I just feel like the other side is just flat out wrong. The one thing that always seems to get under my skin is when someone says “all lives matter”. I honestly can’t stand it when someone #AllLivesMatter or tries to say something along those lines. Now let me preface this and say all lives do matter but in this context when someone usually says all lives matter they are rebutting the Black Lives Matter movement and that is something I just can no longer sit by and watch.

My disgust for “all lives matter” has been something I have wanted to write about for a while but have continuously convinced myself that it was unnecessary. I have read  numerous articles on why people should stop saying “all lives matter” and figured there was enough out there that I didn’t need to speak out on it. But I knew I had to say something when it started to hit home. One day I was in the car with a friend and she spotted a Black Lives Matter sign on someone’s front yard. She told me that she hated it and that all lives matter not just black ones. For me I was really confused because I felt as a black woman and mother of black kids, she should understand the purpose of Black Lives Matter (BLM), and I couldn’t wrap my head around why she didn’t. But then I started to grasp that she truly did mean well, all that she meant was that everyone’s lives mattered just as equally as the next person. As an equalist, on paper it may look as though I would have agreed with her, but there is something people who could be quick to label me as such did not understand.
Continue reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ Does Not Mean That All Lives Do Not

Dear Mr. Trump

I dont know what type of President you will be. I don’t even know where you truly stand on important issues or where you get your secretive ISIS information that apparently only goes to you. What I do know is that you have no respect for women and minorities. You are an egoistic bigotry and the sadly you’re not alone. There are some people who voted for you because they couldn’t stand the idea of a woman being president. Some may have voted out of loyalty to the GOP. Some who really just supported Mike Pence in light of the fact that he openly disrepects the LGBTQ community with his beliefs in conversion therapy. Others voted because they truly hated blacks, hispanics, latinos, muslims and immigrants in general. They’re scared and believe you’ve come to protect them from those groups.

And to all those who voted for you I want to say I’m also scared. I have been  confused, angry, and sad. I have been through all the hurt emotions but right not I feel powerful. I highly doubt anything good could come from you and Mike Pence working together ruling the most powerful country in America. And right now I apologize on your behalf for all the mistakes you will make. I didn’t fight hard enough, I didn’t take you seriously. But you have done something. You have brought to light something I have always known. You showed people that there are a lot of people in America who truly feel hatred for other  groups of people. You showed us that now more than ever we do have a reason for Black Lives Matter and Feminism. And honestly I am not sure what movement our Muslims sisters and brothers have but I will find out and I will stand with them, this is my promise to you. I will stand stongly by the LGBTQs and Latinos.

Mr. Donald Trump, what I am trying to say is you will not break me. You will not break America. If anything you have already made us stronger. You’ve told us that we need to get more educated. we have the world at our fingers and we intend to take hold of it. So my congratualtions to you Donald, not for being the president-elect but for rather going down in history for lighting the fire inside of us all that I knew was there all along.

Sincerely,

SC Gaspard, A Lady in America