Current Mood: Beychella

I still can’t get over that performance. If Beyoncé’s Blacker than Black show-out at Coachella didn’t motivate you to get up, get out and do something, nothing will. #mood

New, new NEW

I’ve been in a quiet, contemplative state as of late. It’s been hard to vocalize my thoughts when I’m surrounded by a cacophony of voices that are louder than my own. Not that I’ve had nothing to say, but I’ve always believed that I should reserve my words for things worth saying. It just seemed fitting that I would write on this April Fools day, which not ironically falls on the day of Christ’s Resurrection, and follows the full moon this year.

The Fool, the Resurrection and the full moon share a lot of concepts that have pushed my growth over the last year. In tarot, The Fool represents new beginnings, in a sort of spring-faced, naive way. I’ve come to embrace my new life, learning to trust my intuition as the universe guides me with auspicious clues on my daily journeys as a businesswoman, doula, and mother. As for the Resurrection, its a reminder of the rebirth of myself from my former life, and all the possibilities that lie before me. Today is a second chance at fixing the mistakes of yesterday, and I remind myself that I’m allowed to rearrange, retool and rework my way of doing things. And finally, the Full Moon represents a closure to things of the past. I’m no longer bound to what I thought I needed, loved and hoped for. I now look to the future with all of the amazing gifts I have to share.

Lavish is still here, and it will remain, ever-changing as I continue to change as a woman. And I’ll share my thoughts, my experiences, and my gifts as they arrive.

Speaking of which. In January, I quietly released an anthology of poems based on my childhood and womanhood living in Brooklyn.
Its a highly intimate portrayal of just a few of my experiences that I’ve always wanted to share, created with the brevity of the haiku form. Brooklyn Haiku is available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

If you order it direct from me, you’ll save on shipping!

Mood, For Life.

#Emmys #AllBlackEverything

Happy Tings: Confessions, Issa + Kendrick

2017 has been amazing for me and we’re only half way through. I’ve ran a bunch of races, traveled to places I’ve always wanted to go, published my novel, Confessions of a Black Travel Diva, and all in all checked off my goals one by one. I’ve sort of become a master at this manifestation thing.Me, celebrating my novel on the shelf at Word bookstore in Jersey City, after a book signing in Newark at black-owned bookstore, Source of Knowledge. 

That said, I’m happy to see people who I’ve followed from day one blowing up with their own success. I’ve followed Issa Rae from her Youtube days where my coworker and I would crack up in our Tribeca office stifling laughs and hiding in the kitchen barely containing ourselves at Issa’s mirror raps. Photographer Elton Anderson  and the glam squad at Hannah Magazine did my girl well for her photoshoot, where she portrayed Missy Elliot and Solange.

On another note, I went to see Kendrick Lamar at Barclay’s Center, for an absolutely dope concert. I rarely go to concerts, so when I do, it better be good. And it was. Kendrick held his own for sure, even with the guest cameos. He owned it. I’m so glad I paid for good seats.

The new video for Loyalty is dope too. Check it out…

So, I Wrote A Book

Confessions of a Black Travel Diva: Stories of a Brown Girl and a Suitcase

This year, I’ve been on a mission. 2017 has been the year of getting shit done. More than any other year, I’ve set out to cross off my to-do list with a vengeance. From traveling to Haiti to run a marathon, doubling up on travel, and making more money, to pushing forward with building a legacy for my daughter, I’ve been handling my business, one by one.

Nearly 8 years ago, I began writing what I thought would be a memoire about my years of travels as a Black girl. What came after was years of edits, rewrites and pauses and starts. I sent it out to several publishers and dealt with rejection over and over again. After all this work, I thought I would never see my book in print.

Cue 2017. I quit with the excuses, went through another round of edits and just put it out, critics be damned. I’m proud to release Confessions of a Black Diva, a fictional tale of love, lust, ambition and boarding passes.

From a suburban Long Island town, a five-year-old Black girl and her grandmother begin embarking on road trips across America in a four-door Riviera. This little girl becomes infected with the travel bug, moving to New York City to pursue a career in art and fashion. Her life of couture, travel and love a airs form a seductive web that rocks her world from Brooklyn to Bahia.

Confessions of a Black Travel Diva is available on Amazon

and Barnes & Noble.

Thank You, President Obama

Speech begins at 2:31

You CAN go to the African American Museum in DC

Everyone on my timeline has been talking about this place. The magnitude, the content, the emotion, the realness. My daughter and I wound up in DC after getting admitted for a tour of the White House, a must for us while Obama was still in office. And while the White House was pretty amazing in and of itself, I couldn’t help but feel an extra tingle of anticipation to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. We didn’t have tickets, but blind faith told me that we would get in. And we did. Without making a reservation months in advance. For a full recap, and tips for getting in – tomorrow – visit Black Travel Diva.

And get you a plate!

If You Do Nothing Else Today, At Least

vote

#Election2016

Why Simone Manuel’s Olympic Win Is So Important To Me

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#Mood. Simone Manuel after her gold medal win in Rio

Last night, 20 year old Simone Manuel became the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. She smashed a world record for the 100 meter freestyle, tying with Canadian athlete Penny Oleksiak. Out of all the decorated athletes of color who won during the games, this win touched me the most. I cried.

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In May, I began learning to swim for the first time. After running my first marathon, I wanted to try for something bigger, better, and more challenging — the triathlon. But I had no idea how to swim and held a deep rooted fear of drowning. It’s no secret that Black folks shy away from the water. A 2010 study by USA Swimming found that between 60-70% of Black and Hispanic children can’t swim. Scary. Studies show that this lack of knowledge is due to parents not knowing how to swim. My personal belief is that adversity in swimming is post traumatic syndrome of Black folks being shipped and sometimes dumped overboard. And that fear is still stuck in our DNA.

I enrolled my own daughter in swim lessons, so that we could struggle and learn together. Because water would not be something that we would fear anymore. I also joined a triathlon team so that I could face my fears head-on. My coaches, both Black, are an inspiration to me, as well as my teammates, a powerful group of athletic women of color. I needed to be surrounded by women who looked like me to really know that swimming was possible for a woman like me.

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The All Women’s Tri Team

On my first open water swim with my triathlon team, I had a panic attack and clung to my coach as we swam in the Long Island Sound. A few days ago, I learned several dives in the deep end of the pool at our YMCA. And I’ve never felt more confident.

I pray that Black men and women become inspired by Ms. Manuel’s win. I hope that they are encouraged to pursue swimming and jump over that debilitating fear of the water. I’m doing it, and I’m going to conquer my goals.

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Not My Business: After Alton and Philando

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Leisha Evans, mother and activist, in Baton Rouge

It’s not that I don’t give a damn, or that I’ve had nothing to say following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. If you’ve seen my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, I’ve stated how I’ve felt as best I could without falling into the pit of narcissistic grief that I’ve seen all over the interwebs. Self aggrandizement is just not my style.

The past week has been traumatizing, frightening, and exhausting. I cried as a mother, and friend, both scared for the livelihoods of so many brothers that I love, and for my own livelihood, which seems to be at stake with every breath I take. But as a woman of action, I didn’t want my acknowledgement to be reduced to a series of hashtags, retweets and emojis. Too many times educated professional Black folks get lost in rhetoric, talking ad nauseum about the injustice of it all while lounging in luxury in their gentrified apartments before happy hour, adding little to the conversation except posting or liking stylish, yet superficial social media posts. I can’t be that. I have a responsibility as a Black woman, a mother, a woman of intellect, to take real action so that these horrifying incidents don’t become just another day in the life of.

Gathering with other Black mothers, and people interested in protecting and growing our communities, I gained so much knowledge on what I can do to give self care and contribute to healing my community. Here are several actionable points we can all do:

Allow yourself to grieve and practice self care.
www.thefader.com/2016/07/06/randi-gloss-black-self-care

Let non-people of color know that you are not responsible for making them feel comfortable around you
http://jamilalyiscott.com/2016/07/07/why-i-wont-allow-white-comfort-to-be-more-important-than-my-black-pain/

And also let them know that you are not responsible for teaching them about racism. They can learn that on their own
http://www.salon.com/2016/07/08/how_to_be_a_white_ally_fighting_racism_is_your_responsibility_start_now/

Put your money back into the community. Buy from businesses owned by people of color. The WhereU App lists these business that are near you. And Solange just posted a list of Black-owned banks on her website
http://saintheron.com/news/there-are-over-21-black-owned-banks-in-the-u-s/

Gather people from your community to grieve, get to know one another, and discuss proactive ways of developing stronger law enforcement and community relations. Anybody can do this. So many times young people and professionals get so ‘busy’ that they spend no time meeting their neighbors or finding out what is developing in their own neighborhoods. But they damn sure know what’s poppin’ on Instagram, or who went to the hottest concert last night, or can share their latest foreign retreat. Please, people. Call your local town hall, and keep calling until they sit down with you. Meet with the police and bring actionable points to the meeting, including fears coming from both sides and how we can all better manage them.

Ask your local government for accountability. Newark, NJ has recently developed a Civilian Review Board, a sort of Yelp for police, giving a rundown of issues between residents and the police. Constant notation and accountability is a key to transparency and progress.

On an ending note, a friend of mine posted this poem, and I think it’s apt for all of us who ‘made it’ and somehow believe that is enough.

“NOT MY BUSINESS”
They picked Akanni up one morning
Beat him soft like clay
And stuffed him down the belly
Of a waiting jeep.
What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?
They came one night
Booted the whole house awake
And dragged Danladi out,
Then off to a lengthy absence.
What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?
Chinwe went to work one day
Only to find her job was gone:
No query, no warning, no probe –
Just one neat sack for a stainless record.
What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?
And then one evening
As I sat down to eat my yam
A knock on the door froze my hungry hand.
The jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn
Waiting, waiting in its usual silence.
– Niyi Osundare

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