Just Say No

Over the years, I have been in numerous weddings.  I have so enjoyed celebrating my friends as they decide to embark on their journey to become wives.  Most recently, I will be in a wedding this weekend.  And even though the bride and I haven’t known each other long, she and I made a real connection.  I often refer to her as the little sister I never had.  We have a lot in common, hang out on a pretty regular basis, and now we are neighbors.  I definitely learn from her and her groom, and I hope that they learn from me.

Not to sound too cliche’, but when you get a number of women together, things don’t always work out the way you want them to.  Now, I have prided myself on not getting caught up in the petty/insignificant/crazy things that groups of women sometimes get themselves into.  I’m pretty good about letting things roll off my back.  Not to mention that I don’t have those type of women in my circles.

But let me back up and offer some sage advice.  When someone asks you to be in their wedding, it’s MUCH more than just buying a dress (or renting a tux) and standing next to your ace while she/he exchanges vows.  It’s a time AND financial commitment.  At minimum, in addition to your dress and shoes, you’re also going to have to chip in for a bachelorette party and/or bridal shower.  And with the way society is now, the bride may want to do a trip.  And it is the one time (aside from you being married and/or having children) that you have to be unselfish and put someone else before you. Like you can’t complain, can’t whine, can’t say you don’t like your dress/hair/nails. Why?  Because it’s not about you!

In addition to you being unselfish, you have to put up.  Not put up or shut up-just put up.  Celebrating the bride isn’t cheap. You will most likely have to get a hotel room/airfare ticket. Not only do you shower the bride with gifts, but you also have to support her last days as a “free” woman.  When you don’t contribute, you put undo pressure on the other members of the bridal party.  Let me tell you a story…(don’t worry, it’s short)

A few years back, I was my cousin’s Maid of Honor. Her bachelorette party and bridal shower took place over one weekend in Atlanta.  Why?  She was the only person that lived there, and everyone was traveling to attend.  Out of 8 bridesmaids, only 1 contributed to her weekend, which consisted of dinner, clubbing, drinks, bridal shower, and dance class.  I never told my cousin.  And even though she and my aunt offered to contribute, I didn’t take their money.  Why?  Because it’s her day and she shouldn’t have to worry about that.  And that wasn’t her job.  Her job was to enjoy being celebrated with no worries.

With the wedding I’m going to be in this weekend, I won’t go into too many details.  I’ll just say one person still owes me money for events that have taken place and another told me that she can’t contribute anymore (we have one last event scheduled with the bride and groom) as she is in a wedding next weekend as well and is tapped out.

All of these instances have told me that I need to learn to say “No”.  From now on, if a family member/friend/loved one/soror asks me to be in her wedding, I’m going to decline.  And it’s not because I don’t love them; it’s because not everyone in the wedding party realizes the commitment that she is agreeing to.  And just because someone didn’t plan properly (or because they’re a slacker) does not mean that I should make undo sacrifices. I’m not here to take care of grown people.

Now, I’ll admit that this blog may not be the best way to communicate that, but….yeah, it is the best way to communicate this.  Because I’m here to share my story.  And I feel that people who are involved in my life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) unofficially sign up to become a part of that story.  It is never my intent to embarrass or call out folks; I don’t name names-that’s messy.

Oh, and my own wedding (when that day comes)?  I’ll be on a beach somewhere with my boo and our parents. The few people that I have shared this with in the last 12 hours think I’m crazy, and I’ll change my mind.  Not to mention it totally goes against the next to last line in this post.  The older you get, you realize what’s really important.  And me stressing over somebody else’s wedding because people can’t contribute is not at the top of my list of priorities.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

“The Book of Negroes”

Unfortunately, BET’s miniseries “The Book of Negroes” did not get as much fanfare as say the “Love and Hip Hop”, “Real Housewives”, or “Bad Girls Club” franchises. I have to admit the only reason I heard about it was because I watch “Being Mary Jane” and “The Game”.

For those of you who have never heard of it, “The Book of Negroes” is a 3 part miniseries based on the true life of Aminata Diallo, an African woman who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery.  What is unique about Aminata is that she wrote The Book of Negroes, a ledger of free Blacks that lived in New York, most of which sailed to Nova Scotia to escape the injustices of America.  Aminata was an educated woman who was not afraid to back down from anyone.  In a time when slaves were to “know their place”, she demanded respect.

This miniseries is one of the best things I have seen on television.  It was well written, included amazing acting, and was well produced.  For me, it made me think about the Black community as a whole and how we are looked at by other cultures.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind was the separation of the Black family.  Chikura, a young African boy that Aminata met right before she was kidnapped, found Aminata once they were adults on plantations in South Carolina.  They ended becoming husband and wife, only to be torn apart NUMEROUS times.  And both times Aminata gave birth to their children, they were not together.  The great thing is that Chikura ALWAYS found her, which to me shows that even though their family was not always together and was broken many times, Chikura never gave up on her.  Not to mention Aminata never had eyes for any other man.  Something else I noticed were the enslaved Blacks.  It’s no secret, if you know the history of the US, that whites commonly referred to slaves and Blacks as “animals”.  Watching slaves in chains, practically dying from thirst and starvation, I couldn’t help but think that there was something animalistic about them.  When given water and/or food, with no utensils but their fingers…how else is one to act?  I wonder how non-Blacks would think if they saw (or knew) that their ancestors were placed in chains, having to use the bathroom on themselves, using their fingers to eat.  It’s a super disheartening and disturbing sight.

There are some of you, a friend of mine and Southern Dad included, who believe that “I’m tired of slave movies” or “I don’t want to see anything like that”, and you have no interest to watch “The Book of Negroes”.  The thing that I will say to you (and the same thing I said to them) is that this miniseries is SO much more than a slave movie.  It’s an opportunity to learn about our history and heritage and a story that is not widely known and that was not shared in any history class you had in school.  So, if you’re snowed in (like I am today), you should definitely start watching it. Or look up the actual book.  You will learn so much.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

DC Love Fest!

Springtime in DC is so beautiful!  The cherry blossoms have bloomed, more folks are out enjoying the monuments, and music festivals start filling up our calendars!  I am so excited about the upcoming DC Love Fest on May 10 at 7 pm at D.A.R. Constitution Hall.  I’ve always wanted to go, and I am glad that I finally get to attend the show!  With performers like Mos Def, Chrisette Michelle, and Lysette Titi, this is not a show you want to miss!  In addition to hearing some great live music, you also get to see great vendors, culinary arts, cocktails, and all of the culture that DC has to offer.  I hope to see you there!


Now That It’s Over…

So, I participated in my first pageant this weekend.  While I did not win the crown, I did get 1st Runner-Up, which I think is awesome!  I received great feedback from the judges.  Audience members, including an Executive Director from another pageant, were very complimentary of my wadrobe.  (If I do say so myself, I thought I looked great! :))  I even got the head nod and additional admiration from two audience members because I was a “not so small” girl strutting my stuff on stage, which honestly was one of my reasons for participating.  I wanted to show women that you don’t have to be a size 10 or smaller to participate in something like this.

I want to thank my family and friends for ALL of your support, whether it was through prayers, donations, or coming to the actual pageant.  It felt amazing to look in the audience and see some familiar faces.  I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and that I may you proud.  Multiple people have asked if I will participate in another pageant.  The jury is still out, but I do have the wadrobe for it…

So what happens now?  I continue my reign as Ms. District of Columbia Exquisite until next Spring when another young lady takes my crown.  I still plan on making appearances and doing things to spread my platform.  I have met some amazing people thus far through this journey, and I know that there is more to do to help end the cycle of domestic violence.  Be sure to connect with me on Facebook (Ms. District of Columbia Exquisite 2013) and on Twitter (MsDCExq2013). Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life


“This isn’t a Gospel play.”  Those words were spoken by Harold Fisher, radio news host and author, when speaking of his novel turned stage play “Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life”.  “You can probably bring a 16 year old, but definitely not a child younger than that.  This is an adult themed play that deals with adult themed situations.”

This weekend, “Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life” makes its stage debut in Washington, DC at THEARC Theater.  On Saturday and Sunday, fans of the book will be able to see the love story they only read about play out on the stage.  When asked, Harold stated he never dreamed of turning his first novel into a play.  “I went to Buffalo (New York) to sit in with a book club that had just read the book.  After the meeting, I was contacted by an old colleague (Paulette Harris) that suggested it should be a stage play.  I had never thought of doing that.”  A few months later, Harold was notified a script had been written.  After all of the legalities were worked out, the play was set to debut in Buffalo, NY at the Paul Robeson Theater during Mother’s Day weekend of this year!  The success of the show encouraged producers to bring the play to our nation’s capital.

If you have not read the book, it is primarily set in steamy New Orleans and follows the relationship of older woman Denise and younger man Tyriq.  The story challenges everything we think that love and relationships should be.  Simply put, it addresses the choices that have to sometimes be made between career and real love.  While most of the story is the same as the book, some things had to be cut and the ending is different.  I have to admit, when I read the novel, I thought it was too young to read it! 🙂 There were definitely some intimate moments between the main characters.  Even though, when I first read the book, I was a few years younger than Denise, I could relate to her with a few different aspects.  Honestly, I think every woman can.

When asked what he wants play goers to receive from his story, he stated “Women should explore whatever options they can to find a mate.  I’m not saying they should be careless, but you just don’t know what may be out there.  Sometimes, there may be something that is unexpected.  You will find love in an unusual place.  You’re looking in the places you’ve always looked, and it’s never there.  When you live life, you will walk right into it.  You’ll find love or companionship in an unexpected place.  You just have to be ready in your heart and your head or you’ll miss it.  Love is where you find it, but not always where you’re looking for it.”  Harold stated the entire story is made up, so nothing was based on his life.  He dreamed the entire story, including characters, places, and events.  He “filled in the blanks, enchanced the story, and added texture and color.”

For those of you that have not read the book, copies will be on sale after each performance on Saturday and Sunday.  Guests will be able to meet the cast (and Harold) as well.  Harold even stated the casting that was done was great, and the original cast from Buffalo will be performing the play this weekend!

“Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life” performances will be Saturday, July 20 at 2 pm and 7 pm (this show is sold out!) and Sunday, July 21 at 1 pm at THEARC Theater, located at 1901 Mississippi Ave SE in Washington, DC.   Tickets can be purchased online here and at THEARC’s box office.

I am so glad my friend let me switch the tables on him and conduct the interview for a change. 🙂  I hope those of you in the DC area will be able to make it out this weekend!  And make sure to look for Elle in the crowd!   Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!