Redemption

No one is perfect, and we all have made mistakes in our lives.  When we mess up, we normally ask for forgiveness from the person or people we have wronged.  But what happens when what you’ve done has directly affected a large group of people…or your mistake is all over the news. 

We are all familiar with Eddie Long and Chris Brown, two men accused of heinous crimes that were plastered all over the news.  Pastor Long’s supporters stuck by him, while a large amount of his congregation left his church.  And he hit news again when was “crowned king”.  (Not sure if that’s completely accurate since I had no interest in watching this ridiculous footage).  He did apologize for taking part, but the damage had already been done.  And just when America had decided to move on, he comes up in our newsfeed again.  Chris Brown did the unthinkable, he put his hands on one of America’s sweethearts.  Even though there were rumors of abuse, from both parties, before the Grammy’s of 2009, Rihanna’s battered and bruised face shocked all of us.  And Chris Brown was Public Enemy No. 1.  Within one year, Chris was working his way back into our hearts.  And it seemed as if he was working his way back nicely.  Now, people are shaking their heads again due to the former couple teaming up for songs on both of their upccoming albums.  Some people say Chris is remorseful and has paid his debt while others think he should be buried never to return to see the light of day again.  I have to admit, I’m a C Breezy fan. 

I think the one of the most famous men to be redeemed is R. Kelly (I orgininally wasn’t going to talk about him, but he just popped up in my head).  I don’t think I need to elaborate.

The main reason why I wanted to write this post was to discuss a certain pastor in Jacksonville, FL.  The story of (I refuse to call him Reverend) Darrell Gilyard broke the year I moved to DC.  Not to elaborate (you can research the story), but he pled guilty to lewd conduct and lewd molestation of two underage girls who attended his church, which is one of the well-known mega-churches in my old city.  After Gilyard was released from jail this past December, he was hired by another church in Jacksonville, to be the pastor.  Since Gilyard is a registered sex offender and cannot be around children under the age of 18 due to conditions of his parole, the church has banned children from attending Sunday services.  No, I’m not joking and your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  Security guards stand at the door and turn away parents who have children with them.  The court stilled has not ruled whether children can be allowed in the sanctuary when Gilyard is preaching. 

Yes, this man paid his debt to society.  But in my humble opinion, this man does not deserve to be in a pulpit, especially since before he came to Jacksonville, he left Texas amid accusations of sexual misconduct.  What are we teaching our children when we don’t allow them to come to church?  That it’s ok to commit crimes against children as long as you’re a “pastor”; you serve your time and are allowed to come back to the same place where you got in trouble before?  Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in forgiveness, but let’s be smart about this.  Gilyard should have the decency and common sense to say, “You know what?  I need to find something else to do as my career and to earn money.”  Yes, the man is almost 50 years old, but I’m sure he can do SOMETHING besides preach. 

So I type all this to say, should Gilyard still be preaching?  And if so, is it right that children are banned from services?  Can we all be redeemed from past bad acts, once we make amends?  And is it really that easy to forget someone’s bad deeds?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Where My Girls At??? (Part Two)

I will attempt to convey my thoughts in this post that I originally tried to do two weeks ago. 🙂

Long story short, I want to see sitcoms (because let’s face it, a drama may be far-fetched) of my peers on network television.   Based on the shows that I mentioned in Part One, I had friends that mirrored and shared some similarities with the characters on our television screen.  And those characters transcended race. 

Growing up, I could look to Whitley Gilbert, Khadijah James, Claire Huxtable, and Joan Clayton as women who inspired me to do great things and to aspire to become someone wonderful.  Who do the girls have to look up to today?  Snooki, Evelyn, and NeNe? If so, we are in a world of trouble.  I think it’s important for all of us to realize we must reach the children in our families and neighborhoods.  It’s up to us to serve as the positive role models that this generation can look up to.  And to show them positive images of women that they believe they can emulate or even transcend, even if it’s the women behind the scenes, like Shonda Rhimes and Mara Brock Akil. 

I really think I want to get into more writing and creating characters that all women, young or old, Black or White, can look at and say, “I want to be like her” or “That is SO me!” or “She reminds me of my best friend”.  I challenge all of you to make a decision on what you will do to conscientously make a positive impact on the lives of young women in your community.  And share with us here on the blog.  Feel free to recruit others and to bounce ideas off each other.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Never Settle…

When it comes to relationships, I want to be courted.  And according to Wikipedia, which is one of my favorite sites, “Courtship may include the couple going out together in public, (often known as dating), for a meal, movie, dance, sports or other social activity. Courtship may also involve private activities which usually include much talking together, perhaps by telephone or by electronic means such as text messages or e-mail. There is often exchange of letters, gifts, flowers and songs.”  Notice how courting encompasses many aspects and not just one.

I sometimes think I’m asking for too much.  I think that the man that I seek doesn’t exist….or does he.  I spoke with my best (guy) friend, TyAnthony, last week about my dilemma and how I thought I would never meet the man who still believes in courtship, at least not someone within my age group, and contemplated giving up on ever finding him (or actually him finding me).  Ty told me to not think that way.  And to let me know that he is out there and does exist; I just have to be patient.

So, I’m telling you all, if you have a goal or a dream or anything that you want to do in life, never give up and don’t settle.  I guess I should take my own advice, because I am a living witness and testimony.  As you know, I lost my job last July.  I was blessed to find temporary employment in December, but money was still tight.  I don’t believe in resolutions, so I made some goals in 2012.  I wanted to have a full-time job by the time my 30th birthday rolled around.  And not only did I want a full-time job, I wanted to be in a position where I didn’t HAVE to work a part-time job anymore.  I’m happy to say that I received that job and set to start on Monday.  I believe this is a prime example of never settling in life.  If there’s something you want in life, keep reaching for your goal.  Never give up, and never settle.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Where My Girls At? (Part One)

Last night, which was one of the rare occasions I’ve been home on a weeknight, I had an opportunity to watch re-runs of one of my FAVORITE shows growing up, “Living Single”.  (I’m sure I’ve given  you my history with this show before.)  And it got me to thinking about one of my favorite shows from my young adulthood, “Girlfriends”.  I tweeted, “The early 90s had “Living Single”; the late 90s-early 2000s had “Girlfriends”. What do we have now???”  I was sadly met with replies that included, “Basketball Wives and RHOA”, “Nothing”, and (my fave from big blogging cousin OneChele), “Reruns”.  Once I read their tweets and really digested their responses, I wanted to cry.  Unfortunately, I don’t see myself, a late 20s/early 30s single lady and her friends and life portrayed on TV.  No, I’m not the girl who’s the singer or dating a rapper or is looking for my 15 minutes of fame and will do darn near anything to get more screen time.  I’m just a simple girl with real life problems but who really has no complaints. 

Now, I want to be very careful (because I would like to have this person visit us again), but I respectfully disagree with some of Brian White’s recent remarks in an interview he did with “Hello Beautiful” magazine.  No, I did not listen to the audio, but I did read the article and was stunned by what I saw.  First, let me say that I am a Black woman who was raised by a Black woman and have Black women in my family and in my circle.  I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that NONE of the Black women in my circle behave as the women (or characters) in some of these reality shows.  I did tweet to Brian a while back that I do watch these shows but would not let my (imaginary) children watch them.   Why?  Because I know the difference between reality and fiction.  And I keep my life drama-free; that’s why I watch it on television.  I’m not saying these women don’t exist; I’m saying they don’t exist in my circle, and I definitely don’t believe they represent the majority of Black women. 

I also don’t know if I agree that Tyler Perry is holding a mirror up to Black America with characters like Angela from “Why Did I Get Married?”  But I will mention that I really think people are WAY too hard on TP about Madea.  I mean, does anybody give crap to Rickey Smiley for impersonating a “church lady” with the morning announcements on his morning show or Steve Harvey for his antics as “Sister Odell”?  Anyway, I’m getting off track….

I will say that positive images of Black people are missing on network television.  I am happy to see that Shonda Rhimes created a new show for ABC titled “Scandal”.  One of my favorite actresses, Kerry Washington, will be the star.  And the show is based in DC! 🙂  But, I’m not an investigator impersonating a lawyer, so she’s not me in that sense, but I am anxiously awaiting to see what this show brings. 

I’ve decided that my 30th year is going to be a year of new, exciting changes in my life.  One thing I would like to add to that is writing, on a serious basis.  It can be a book/short film/sitcom/web series…just something to show my life portrayed for the masses to see.  Like I told my “friends” on Facebook who were going in on “Red Tails” (another post for another day), if you don’t like something, make constructive suggestions…or just do it yourself.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Bloggers Note:  As I began writing, this post took on a life of its own and totally went in a direction I didn’t know it was going to go.  So Part Two will most likely focus on what I really set out to blog about in the first place. 

An Ode to Grandmothers…

I have one grandparent who’s still alive.  She’s currently in a nursing home recovering from an infection.  I’ve always loved my maternal grandmother, and I affectionately began calling her “Granny” when I was in middle school, just like my friend Crystal called her grandmother.  For Christmas, my Granny gave me this beautiful bracelet with a heart charm.  On the inside reads the inscription, “Granddaughter, you will always be in my heart”.  I thought this was the sweetest thing.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize that I should appreciate all of my loved ones, especially my grandparents and parents, while they are here with us, and I should let them know how I feel about them.

My great-grandmother (Granny’s mom) used to always say, “Give me my flowers while I’m living; don’t wait til I’m dead”.  So I told my mom I wanted to buy some flowers for my Granny while she was going through her physical therapy.  My mom and I chipped in and bought some roses and an angel figurine (which sits on her nightstand).  She LOVED them, and she even sent me a “Thank you” note.  I’m so happy that I was able to let my Granny know how I felt about her while she’s here, and that she was able to see her flowers.

My paternal grandmother passed on May 5, 2010.  She had been sick for awhile, but I thought she was getting better.  I was devastated when one of my cousins called and told me she passed.  I took her death much harder than I thought I would.  This was the woman who I spent every summer with and every other holiday while I was growing up.  She cooked me breakfast every morning, with the exception of the last Christmas I spent with her; she was too weak.  I spent my summers shelling peas for her fruit and vegetable stand, and she always gave me a few dollars.  Every once in awhile, it hits me that she’s gone; sometimes I feel like it just happened.  It feels weird going back to her house and knowing she’s not there.  But I know she’s enjoying her time in heaven. 

I don’t mean to shun my grandfathers. 🙂  My paternal grandfather passed away the year before Southern parents got married, and my maternal grandfather passed the summer after I graduated from high school.  (I can’t believe he’s been gone almost 12 years…) And after my graduation, he gave my mom $100 and told her to use it towards my college tuition.  I will always love and appreciate him for that; when I think about it, it still brings a smile to my face. 

I wanted to write this post to let my grandmothers know how I felt about them, even though one has already moved on.  I am in awe of their strength, determination, and perseverance.  I hope I make them proud and that I grow up to touch as many lives as they have touched in such a positive way.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.