Monthly Archives: March 2012

Afro Blue Vocal Band pays tribute to the late Trayvon Martin

As if I couldn’t love them any more.  The Sing Off’s Afro Blue Vocal Band has recorded a soul-stirring rendition of their version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” in the memory of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old boy shot to death by George Zimmerman.  If you don’t know the story you can click the link below.

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 28-year-old who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice.

The following tribute by Afro Blue Vocal Band embodies how many in our community felt during the Civil Rights Era…and sadly, still today.  Rest In Paradise, young Trayvon….


Love’s In Need of Love Today: The Trayvon Martin Tragedy and my Million Hoodies March experience

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about the murder of Trayvon Martin and the resulting fall out.  If not, read here

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 28-year-old who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice.

There was a march/rally held in Union Square yesterday in NYC.  Everyone wore their hoodies and brought signs that protested the shooting, called for George Zimmerman’s arrest, and called for the firing or resignation of Sanford, FL police chief Bill Lee. People also brought skittles and iced tea as a show of how unarmed Trayvon Martin really was. The air was electric:  People were chanting, discussing the situation in groups, several people were giving interviews to everyone from local news outlets to Inside Edition, and the like.  The crowd was just like Trayvon’s skittles:  multi-colored and multi-flavored.  There were businesspeople in suits, students in hoodies, young children with their parents, whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, indians, all there to show their support for Trayvon Martin and his family.  At around 8:30 or so, we all started to march toward Times Square.

People were chanting things like, “No Justice, No Peace” ,”We are Trayvon Martin”, and “Just Skittles and Iced Tea, don’t shoot me, don’t hurt me”.  Someone started singing Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”  It felt good to be a part of something so positive regarding something as negative as the Trayvon Martin slaying.  In that moment, we, businesspeople and students, old and young, black and white, were unified.  We were one. Then things started to go left….

People on the streets began heckling us. I won’t get into all of them, but I’ll mention two. One guy walked right over to the group and started yelling at us to,” Go get a job”  When someone asked, “Who said that?” he proudly stuck out his chest and said, “I did!”  But instead of people ignoring him, and taking the wind out of his ignorant sails, some people walked over to him as if to engage in a fight.  I sighed a little, and at the same time, my eyes landed on a bag that bore the image of Dr. Martin Luther King’s mugshot. Irony.

Later on, a few drunken guys and their buddies stumbled past and loudly suggested that the cops shoot us like Trayvon Martin was shot.  When a few of the larger guys turned toward them, they quickly scuttled away. I sighed…again.

As we crossed the streets of New York City, many of the protesters began stopping cars in the crosswalk so that the crowd could get across. When cars honked at them, they would scream, “No Justice, No Peace!”  Some protesters went as far as to jump onto the hoods of people’s cars to stop them.  As I looked up, I began to see scores of police officers closing in.  People began yelling out the names and phone numbers of lawyers in the event that any of us got arrested. Arrested? I sighed…again.  This night was supposed to be about Trayvon Martin, and justice for his family.  This night was not supposed about “protesters” (read: fame-wh0res) trying to get arrested for trivial things like jaywalking.  Getting arrested for a sit in or riding in the front of the bus makes you a protester….NOT getting arrested for blocking traffic or jaywalking.

Soon thereafter, the heckling of the cops began.  They instructed us to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk. The same “protesters” that decided to block traffic started chanting. “Get that animal off of that horse” they yelled.  I sighed….yet again.  This protest was not about New York City police officers. This protest was about TRAYVON MARTIN. Or did they forget that? The police were not trying to keep you from protesting…they were trying to keep you from being hit by a car. If the “protesters” wanted to be angry at any police officers, they should direct their attention to one Bill Lee of the Sanford,Florida Police Department.  Write some letters to him; perhaps sign a petition to get him fired or force him to resign.  Getting arrested for jaywalking/blocking traffic/assaulting police officers seemed real dumb and not at all helpful toward the Trayvon Martin effort. Some people seemed to be in such a hurry to be arrested for a cause or arrested for any reason at all, they forgot about the very point of the rally/march. Civil disobedience for the sake of civil disobedience is stupid if it’s not forwarding your agenda….WHICH IS JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN!!!!!!

The crowd continued to swell and the few “protesters” in the crowd got more insistent on heckling the cops. In the melee, I accidentally bumped into one of the police officers. Historically, it only takes a few bad apples for the cops to decide to escalate things and I’m quite sure if I had been one of the ones screaming about pigs and animals and F*CK the POLICE and such, my bump could have been the catalyst needed to create a whirlwind of pepperspray, fist fights and arrests. But since I wasn’t one of those, the tense moment passed. It was at that moment, however, I realized that for a few people, the rally for Trayvon Martin had long since been over. And in reality, I wasn’t quite sure what some in the crowd had come to rally for in the first place.

To bring balance, I have much love for those whose hearts AND MINDS were in the right place as they filled Union Square that night and later in Times Square.  I have much love for those who stood; silent,stoic, holding skittles and iced tea.  I even have love for the man who walked through the crowd screaming,” I have skittles and iced tea, and I’m wearing a black hoodie….I hope I don’t get shot!” I do NOT have love for those who took Trayvon’s murder as a chance to push their own personal or political agendas, or those too immature to ignore the hecklers, or for those who decided last night was a night to get arrested for no other reason than to say “I was arrested for protesting (read: jaywalking and stopping traffic) Trayvon Martin’s murder. Look how deep and serious I am” (fame-wh0res).

So, what do I want? I want justice for Trayvon Martin and I want little black boys to stop being killed for no reason. I also want healing for the deep-seated wounds that caused some to act out in anger against the hecklers last night. I also want understanding from a public to tends to shy away from CLEAR issues of race (Jeremy Lin, Trayvon Martin, the general treatment of Muslims after 9/11).  I’m not sure how and when that is going to happen, but here’s hoping it does before we destroy ourselves.

Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I’m about to say
Could mean the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far ~ Stevie Wonder

We are ALL Trayvon Martin

By now you have heard the tragic story about 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead while walking home.  If not, see the story here:

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 28-year-old who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice.


People all over the globe are outraged, myself included.  If you are in the NYC area, tonight, please support this call for justice.

1. WEAR YOUR HOODIE ON WEDNESDAY 3/21 and upload a pic to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #millionhoodies.

2. SIGN THE CHANGE.ORG PETITION – started by Trayvon’s parents. Currently at 530,000 signatures, we can move the needle to 1 million this week!

3. JOIN US IN NYC – Throw on your hoodies and come gather in Union Square to show your support for justice for Trayvon Martin!

A black person in a hoodie isn’t automatically “suspicious”. Let’s put an end to racial profiling!

*Wednesday, March 21st is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Location: Union Square

Address: 14th Street and 5th Avenue, New York, NY

How do I get there? Click here.

Weather Forecast: 54°F, 20% chance of rain

Crowd: Justice Seekers

Dress Code: Hoodies

Cover: Free

More Information:

GENESE JAMILAH on Mar 20, 2012 • 8:49 pm



     “A Black person in a hoodie isn’t automatically “suspicious”


Fathers, be good to your daughters (whether they like it or not)

I remember when I first heard this song; I was in a bar in downtown Washington, DC .  Largely, the song went ignored, but I was stunned.  My first thought was, “What a simple yet profound tune.  Well done, John”.  My next thought was, “What the heck music channel is on in this bar?” A few seconds after the song went off, a guy, who I considered a friend, walked over to our table. “I hate this song!”, he exclaimed with a disgusted look crossing his face.  I looked up at him in a haze of confusion and perhaps to many Magic Hats. Did he just say he HATES this song?  Doesn’t he HAVE a daughter?? What is going on here??? I tried not to let the shock register on my face as he sat down to join us for the rest of the evening.

Later on I got to thinking about fathers, daughters, and relationships.  My father was SUPER involved in my dating life growing up.  Like, REALLY.  First of all, I was not allowed to go on any dates until I was 16. (Did I mention I didn’t turn 16 until my junior year in high school?!?!)  Anything before that was referred to as a  “group outing” and group outings required adult supervision. Needless to say, I did not go on a whole lot of dates between ages 14 and 15 :-/

Finally, when I turned 16, many more guys were willing to ask me out on dates. I’ll never forget my very first one.  For the sake of the story, we’ll call him “that boy”.  He invited me out to the movies and I happily accepted.  When I got home, I excitedly told my Mom about my date.  With a twinkle in her eye she asked me if I had told my father yet. “No ma’am” I muttered.  I KNEW where this was going.  I slowly walked upstairs to my Dad’s office and knocked on the door.  When he told me to come in, my heart was pounding.  I carefully explained that a nice young man that I met at my church youth group’s skating party had asked me on a date.  With a twinkle is HIS eye, my father asked what time this young man was coming to pick me up.  “Seven-thirty”, I replied, avoiding eye contact.  “Tell him to come by at 7”, my dad said. “Yes sir”.  I walked to my room to call “that boy”.  I THOUGHT I knew where this was going…..but I had no idea.

Friday night rolled around and I was getting ready for my date.  Around 6:51pm, “that boy” rang the doorbell and my father answered.  I came downstairs while “that boy” was in the process of introducing himself to my Mom and Dad.  I grabbed his arm and attempted to head toward the door when father stops us.  “Son, can I see you for a moment?” he said.  My heart sank.  My mother said she needed to give me something so I go back upstairs with her.  20 minutes I came back downstairs and my father and “that boy” are coming out of the living room.  “That boy” had the strangest look on his face, and I did my best to ignore it.  I hustled him out the front door.

Once in the safety of his car, I ask “that boy” what he and my father talked about. “Nothing much” he said, casually, all the while keeping his eyes on the highway.  “He’s lying….I know it”, I thought to myself. I tried to make small talk on the short ride to the movie theater, but I knew something had changed between me and “that boy”.

I can’t say I remember what movie we saw, or even if we liked it or not, but I do remember “that boy” sitting straight up in his seat and repeatedly asking me if i was okay or if I needed anything. Needless to say, it was a little awkward, and as SOON as the movie was over, we practically went warp speed back to my house.  He walked me to my doorstep and said he would call me later. He shook my father’s hand, nodded and smiled at my mother and walked back to his car.  I turned, shot my father a dirty look, and went upstairs.  I just KNEW I would never hear from “that boy” again.

Early the next week, I got a phone call from “that boy”.  He wanted to know if I wanted to go out to dinner on Friday night. I accepted and slowly hung up the phone, my mind reeling. I didn’t understand.  I thought this dude never wanted to see me again!  I thought my father had said something horrible to him and he was in the process of telling EVERY guy in the tri-state area not to ask me out because my dad was crrrrrazy.  My mind had already conceived a crap ton of heinous scenarios that would render my high school dating experience over and done, but, clearly, none of these scenarios came to fruition.  He had just asked me out on a second date.

I ended up dating that guy for a little while.  Further into our relationship, I begged him to tell me what my father said to him that first night.  Between pulling info from both him and my father, I can only surmise the conversation went something like this:

Dad:  So, son, what are your intentions with my daughter?

That Boy: I uh, want to take her to a movie sir.

Dad:  Okay then.  You will be back here at 9:30.  Not one minute later.  Do you understand?

That Boy: Yes sir.

Dad:  My daughters are princesses son.  Princesses…and frogs just won’t do.  Are you a frog, son?

That Boy: Um..uh, no sir. Not at all.

Dad:  And there WILL be no sex.  Nothing horizontal of any sort.  Do you understand son?

That Boy: *stunned* Um..Yes sir…I mean, No sir…I mean…I understand sir.

Dad:  Good good.  So, what college are you looking to go to son?

That Boy:  Well, um..I haven’t really thought about it yet, but there are a few on my list…..

I never got much more out of either of them, but when I asked “That Boy” what made him call me back, he said something that stays with me to this day.  “I really liked you but, to be honest, I didn’t know how serious I really wanted to be.  With your father talking like that, I had to decide, and decide quickly whether or not I liked you enough to go through that sort of interrogation. It made me respect you and your family a lot more.  And I hope that if I have a daughter one day, I’ll do the same thing to the boys who ask her out.”

We had a good run, but “That boy” and I didn’t end up staying together. Although I had many other dates after him, my father continued to interrogate each and every new date I ever had in that exact manner, right up until I left for college. I was embarrassed for many years about the way my father “screened” my potential suitors, but now that I’m older, I’m so grateful that he did what he did.  My father was doing what he was supposed to do.  He was being a good father to his daughter, and being good to me included screening the men that I chose to spend my time with.  And not every guy I wanted to go out with passed my father’s interrogation, either.  He rejected quite a few of them.  I may have been mad at the time, and I’m sure that I missed out on a lot of dates because of my father’s rules, but I’ll bet I missed out on a lot of guys dogging me and a lot of heartache, too. Being dogged, messed over and hurt can affect a woman in such a way that she can’t even be in a relationship with a man who really loves her, and that’s a sad reality.  Sometimes I wonder what became of the little girl who’s father said that he hated this song……..

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too ~ John Mayer

The Freshman 15, III

Okay, people.  We are down to the wire.  I have exactly three weeks left until I head to Miami.  Needless to say, I slipped up on my diet/workout plan a few times (mostly with cocktails, because, well, I love cocktails…LOL). I began to feel like I wasn’t doing too well and the spectre of South Beach judgement began to haunt my dreams.  Then, last night, a friend called me and said that her friend saw a picture of me on facebook from a night with Big Ang.  Yes, THAT Big Ang, but let me explain…LOL.

Just so you know, I’m not exactly what you might call the biggest Reality TV fan.  Honesty, I’m not a fan of it at all, but that’s not the point of this story. One night I was at a party hosted by Big Ang from VH1’s Mob Wives. I ended up taking picture with Big Ang and a few other people that night and one of the photographers from the event uploaded the photos to Facebook.  Yesterday, a fried of mine called me to say that that HER friend saw those facebook photos.  This is a direct quote from that phone conversation:

“Oh My God! Tee’s b00bs are huge!  I’ll bet they don’t sag at all.  And they look so perfect, just like her arms…I hate her.”

Needless to say, I was taken aback, and for several reasons.  Firstly, if you guys read the first Freshman 15 post, you know that I had a supreme and utter lack of boobs in both high school and much of college, so all this b00bie attention is somewhat new to me.  Secondly, my arms are by far my MOST HATED body part, and I just KNEW they were flabby and loose enough to serve as wings to fly me down to Miami for this bachelorette party.  I had NO idea I had made any progress at all on my biceps and triceps…(or lack thereof as far as I thought) I guess I was wrong.

However, on a more serious note, often times, we as women have such a negative view of our own bodies, even as we make progress. We’re so obsessed with certain body parts we get stuck there and fail to see our own progress. This is not a healthy mindset and we all (me included) need to work on correcting this. We need our minds to be healthy, as well as our bodies.

So, the moral of this story?  It’s possible for your personal perceptions of your body to be skewed, so it’s important to have supportive, motivational and candid people around you.  And you should take pictures at parties with Big Ang 😉

Afro Blue Vocal Band (My obsession)

Hey guys, just a quick note while I’m writing other things (wink, wink) Y’all KNOW I love this group, so please please please visit their website. You KNOW you love them too!

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