Black Girl in Om: Healing the woman I am within

I wanted to create space to speak a mini testimony of what has been a successful practice for me to manifest greatness and appreciate the greatness in my life : listening and being inspired by black women/ femmes.

Last January I was struggling to find my voice as writer, how to become an active part of the change I wanted to see in my City, and finding, loving me. For each challenge that I stumbled through somewhat blindly there was a black woman there to help guide me back on to my path.

My Writing

My dear friend and talented poet, Eve routinely sent me invites to poetry events, readings, her featured shows until I began to show. Listening to her truth spoken boldly and feeling that connection to her spiritual left me in tears many of time and inspired to honor my own truth through my voice. As our relationship grows she challenges me to improve my writing in ways I didn’t know were possible. Im so grateful of having that experience of someone in my same medium. Some months into 2017, one of my closest friends, Taylor suggested me to a mutual friend that owns a site called FlagrantCity that was looking for bloggers, which led me to Rhonda. Rhonda has provided me the creative freedom to express on a platform while also giving me advise on how to build my own brand,and I deeply grateful for this. From this experience had led me to my most recent accomplishment of being hired as a freelance writer for Vocally!

Organizing & Self Awareness

I was in awe of Shaketa’s leadership and Natasha’s strategy: their combined efforts is black girl magic to me. As I continued working with them and growing closer to them; the experience of their patience, their love, their ability to see me in my fullness in a way I had yet to see in myself was affirming for me which led me to BOLD Praxis .BOLD was an experience that shifted my inner narrative of my life. This past Friendsgiving I shared the experience of how BOLD affirmed my worth, dignity, abilities. How, in the future, I wanted to carry healing our traumas and self care through words/ art into my organizing when Linda asked if I had listened to Black Girls in Om, it was a Chicago based podcast run by black women, that centered self care – she strongly suggested that I listen to it.

Black Girls In Om

From their first episode Lauren’s soft voice over subtle instrumentals speaking BGIO’s mission: “To promote holistic wellness and inner beauty for women of color, encouraging self care, self love, and self empowerment for communities of color” was an affirmation of the exact mission I have been envisioning. To the present with the episode number 30: “Intentional living with Roe of Brown Kids” .

There were several things that Roe said that resonated deeply with me. On creating a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe that can be carried throughout the year and importance of buying quality clothing . Coming home from my experience at both Bold and Just Resisting retreat, I have come to terms within myself that I did not feel up until then worth period – Let alone luxuries of expensive clothing . After twenty four years of living in Buffalo, NY I did not own a down coat or bought good winter boots in at least five years, because I did not think I was worthy of those new things. I realized that stemmed from conditioning: my parents treated shopping as a reward and growing up in generational poverty. As an adult when I did splurge on anything self indulgent it was lingerie, something super sexy, maybe a casual thing – but never my essentials that would actually care for my body.

What Roe and Lauren spoke to about living in a limbo state is something I have been struggling within my own space. Since my breakup a year ago with my daughter’s father, I struggled financially that constantly left me questioning where my family will be each month. Now as I gain stability I’m adjusting to how to have a functional and comfortable space for a toddler and school aged child. This episode like the previous connect with me on levels that I am actively trying to unlock within myself that leaves me amazed each time. Lauren’s work with partynoire as a yoga instructor grounded in spiritual awareness and Deun’s creative works rooted deeply in spiritual gratitude strengthens me daily to continue on with my current collaborative projects with H.E.A.L and Black Magnolias.

If you have not listened to Black Girls in Om, I very much suggest that you give them a listen!

*The top two that I have on repeat currently are episode #29 and #18 (Five Challenges in Creative Entrepreneurship) and strongly advise all black women and femmes listen to #1, #13, #27 and of course the latest #30 .

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BOLD Journey to Durham: lessons on Black Love & Healing for Liberation

This November I celebrate my one year anniversary of organizing with Just Resisting! (Just Resisting is a black and brown community organization that focuses on social justice issues- primarily on injustices involving the local Buffalo Police Department/ Strike Force.) As I celebrate this accomplishment, I sit with the experience of attending BOLD,Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity Amandla – Praxis. The combination of the timing of both events is not only emotional, but monumental.

For five days I had the privilege of being able to share space with beautiful black organizers and folks from all over this country. We endured twelve hours of intense somatic, embodied leadership training, political education and on the ground practice with the local organization, 10K for Durham. As I write this I’m still unpacking a wealth of emotions ranging from raw newness to frustration.

I was under the impression going into the training that I would be learning practices for my organizing and that some somatic would be practiced.( I still didn’t know or understand the premise of somatic and what it entailed beyond centering). I did not know the small exposure to somatic practice would affect me on the level that it did. As one of the co-director to JR said so perfectly “ it’s like constantly being ripped open layer by layer exposing yourself in your bare humanity” all while maintaining everyone’s dignity in the space- it was amazing. Each practice forced me to acknowledge pieces of my trauma that I tried to deny- things I had buried within myself, beliefs that I thought were long ago debunked.  I discovered the power in living in the truth of my story, living centered in purpose.

This painfully culminated during a practice on the fourth day, where we were instructed to write commitments that we would carry with us back home beyond this training.

My OG commitment went like:  “I am a commitment to being a source of love and strength in connection to myself, my children, and my community for our liberation.”  When I shared this with my team that I had been working with for the past week, they all responded that they had seen me doing that – the way I cared for Zaire and Kelila, in the way I talked about folks back home. I said without a thought “yea, but not myself.”

It was then when one of the lead facilitators that was on our team challenged me to cross everyone else out leaving myself, then try reading it aloud. I did, read it, and burst into tears. I was forced to face the truth that I did not know how to care for myself or felt I was worthy of that.

This triggered memories of my mother- her telling me that I am so strong and have endured much in this life, her trying to reaffirm my worth. I understood that to mean that strength was resource- something I could draw from, tap into in moments of weakness- not gift. Until then I believed that my purpose was to give of myself as a sacrifice for still having life in this body.

I was able to see the life that mattered in my children, in Jose, in Meech, in Aj, in my community- but not mine. I cried because I felt like that suicidal sixteen year old girl I once was all over  again, plagued with PTSD from being sexual abuse that left me feeling worthless. The memory of waking up the day after my first suicide attempt in a hospital room came to mind vividly. I remember thinking that I was not physically supposed to be there but, also knowing this must’ve meant that I still had a purpose to fulfill on this earth. Since that moment, I was willing to live as a martyr for that purpose once I found it.

I first thought that Zaire was the fulfillment of that purpose once I met him and nurtured him as such, the same with Kelila, the same with my organizing work.

As I poured the love and strength in me into them and my projects I felt the pressure of life closing in around me, I felt depleted. In that moment when I acknowledged that my life mattered, and despite my traumas I will always have worth, a shift occurred within me. I spoke my commitment again; tears flowed as I said the words firmly. I️ am a commitment to being a source of love and strength in connection to my own liberation.I strive to live in that commitment since then by honoring myself slowly in small ways. Reaffirming that I do have worth and being gentle with myself has become a daily practice.

I allow myself to feel deeper in my interactions with folks: the boundaries that are born from it and the relationships I challenge to feel deeper in. I feel the frustration in my social media feeds seeing how much of society has feed us bullshit that has shrunk us down and isolated us as black folks.

When we collectively acknowledge our trauma and pain that healing process can begin. The acceptance of how our stories shift and shape us is the source of our power.

I understand the fear to go deeper. It’s not always safe to engage deeply in all interactions- it requires a level of trust in a time in our history where so much distrust has breed between all relationships. It’s also scary to face what lies in wait below the surface- what memories have been denied to revisit, what stories do we tell ourselves daily that are not true- things that sit in our depth that must be sorted through, and unpacked to heal in our full  dignity.

This movement for Black Liberation exceeds breaking systems that were created to oppress us but, it’s for our collective healing as black folks. It is for the moments of freedom we are rarely granted to be extended.

This liberation is for the empowerment that we will always have our dignity- Despite what the society we live in feeds us through media influence and experiences. Connecting from that place of healing will create a people that I can only imagine our ancestors dreamed we would become.

Interview with Lindsey Taylor

Lindsey Taylor is a buffalo native that started Crown ENT back in 2007, and has since then developed and worked on large projects such as Ballin’ For a Cause, and most recently the Beau Fleuve Music and Arts Festival
We caught up with him to see how he feels about his personal growth, how he finds balance between it all, his views on leadership and more. 

M- Marielle ,LT- Lindsey Taylor 

M: How do you feel about your progress over the past decade? – from Balling for a Cause, Crown ENT, and most recently Beau Fleuve Music and Arts Festival. 

LT: I feel good because I was able to show growth over the past year.- that I am not one dimensional, to be able to host multidimensional events, to see how far we come, to be able to inspire young entrepreneurs and creators , to open doors for others and venues. I feel real happy with my growth.

M: Have you been able to fulfill the goals you set for yourself 10 years ? Are you where you projected yourself to be?

LT: Yes. When I started I wanted parties to be the stepping stone into doing a variety of events. I never wanted to be known and labeled as just the party promoter. Crown ENT. and parties were the foundation. I wrote goals down in notebooks – I still find some of them in old notebooks and then I would write an outline for how I wanted to execute it. I’ve been working on Beau Fleuve for two years now.

And I have made most of those, may have not hit it all the way, but to be able to see that can achieve the concept and that it is possible. 

M: did any of those goals change for you ? 

LT: things always change, I’ve wrote ideas down and went a different course with it completely. 
M: How do you focus between your projects and your personal life and family? 

LT: I’m still working on finding balance between life and projects and myself. This is currently my number one goal : to dedicate one day to my family with my phone off, just time to unplug. I’ve been burnt out physically, mentally. 

Constantly working makes your work go stale . 
Like when I took my daughter to Disney World for vacation I was watching how Disney operates: their team, their influence, how they were with guest. 

 

There was a time when something was wrong with our car and before we could go to ask for help someone was there taking care of it . 

M: wow. That leads well into my next question: What is your organizing/ planning process : do you focus more energy into work you team is doing, the work you do yourself, or strive to find balance between both ? 

LT: I’m working with distributing responsibilities to team members and building team members up so that they can be those representatives of myself. 
So that when problems occur people can go to them and they solve it instead of running me for everything. 
I wanted it to be that the answer my team member gives is the exact same thing I would say if asked.- so that if I Lindsey leave my event it would still run perfectly . 

M: How would you describe the impact you’ve had local art scene ? What lasting influence do you want to leave ? 

LT: I have always incorporated music in my events- from party promoting with Crown ENT and getting in contact with MCs and local musicians, balling for a cause I always incorporated music into that as well, I did cyphers for local rappers and over the years I’ve built relationships with a lot of artists. Now I want learn more about new artists and gain more lasting relationships. 
On last influence:

We want artists to be able to come to us and use our platform to benefit all of us, we want to be able to pioneer these ideas. With basketball people are looking it ( balling for a cause) all over the world – we get contacted from teams from Canada and Africa inquiring about it. We want to be the staple representative of this brand. 

M: what impact does your political views and association have in any of your projects? 

LT: I keep politics separate from events and projects. (I) show support in different ways. I don’t center or align with just one political party or candidate. We do have good relationships with some figures that have shown interest and been involved with some of our events. 

  
M: how do you deal with diversity? 

LT: diversity is one of my biggest things. I was born and raised in the city and attended school with people of all different backgrounds. I want to reach a diverse background of people – black, white, Asian, all people. I want to build relationships across all races. 

One of the big things with Beau Fleuve was to have as much diversity as possible, we had country, rock , hip hop, we could’ve easily just did a hip hop show, but I wanted diversity. 
In fact, this past year one of my friends invited me to a country concert and I had the best experience even though I only knew like two song, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to . 

M: What should people be on the look out from you ? Any upcoming projects that you can share with us ? 

LT: We are currently working on the Beau Fleuve Foundation to give back to youth arts, create scholarships and making Beau Fleuve into a Mega Festival 
M: That sounds Awesome ! Any closing statements, last words .. 

LT: Shout out to Rhonda to always being supportive, she’s great. It takes all of us coming together every aspect of media, promoters, artists and working together. Pulling together. 

#AroundBuffaLowe: Adri V Hosts the 3rd Annual Go Getta Mix & Mingle [MARCH 24]

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Celebrate life and possibilities with radio personality Adri.V! The birthday girl is combining her own celebration with a fundraiser for The Go Getta Scholarship 2017, and a moment to acknowledge and highlight the Talented Ten: leaders making a way against the odds. A donation of $15 will get you access to an elite group business-minded individuals where you can network, exchange, and turn up for the sake of being alive!

The event takes place March 24th from 6pm-10pm and we suggest you get your tickets before they run out!

Can’t make it? Make sure you keep up with Adri’s move through her IG so you can check out the next event. But we’re sure you won’t want to miss this one.

The Phoenix Identity Group Noiz3 Vlog Series w/ Tiffany Winter [Coming Soon]!

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The Phoenix Company is blessing the community with Alcohol Industry insiders courtesy of Tiffany Winter. Winters, known as part of Black Ink Crew, is teaming up with The Phoenix Company to present all you need to begin or amp up your business. From new brands to market to tips from entrepreneurs and lifestyle ambassadors already in the game, the vlog will feature major keys to flourishing in the industry. They’re even sharing signature mixed cocktails! So if you love to drink, love to get people drunk, or want to get paid to do both be sure to check them out!

You can follow The Phoenix Company on IG to keep tabs on the vlog and be sure to follow Tiffany to see what other insiders she shares.

Last but never least… take a shot for the homies! ❤

BuffaLowe Wants to Know: Where the Haters At? [Opinion Piece]

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  In order for a candidate to become president they must have an overwhelming support of the citizens, right? They would at least need more people who want to see them in power than those who would rather they fail. I mean… isn’t that the whole reason why we’re urged to vote? Told our voices matter and all the other propaganda? The 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama (yes, girl I said President present tense because he’s still my President FOH) had an attendance record of more than 1.8 million according to CNN politics.

    So where are all the self-hating bigots who voted for Captain Cheezit? They have no problem sitting behind a camera and spewing messages of hate, or even attacking defenseless POC for no justifiable reason, but very few showed up to support the man THEY deemed fit to be in power. When listening to Trump’s inauguration speech the reason becomes a bit clearer. At least to me. His speech was littered with the uses of ‘i’ and ‘me’ as opposed to ‘us’ and ‘we’. ‘I can fix these problems’ and ‘I am the answer’.

    So maybe Trump’s followers didn’t show because their lazy asses felt their task was done. They screamed hate to the heavens and their Gods have responded. So all that’s left for them to do is sit back and let havoc wreck itself. Even so, We the People should see this as an opening. Our support of love is far greater than their message of hate. The power rests in our hands and it’s up to us to use it to rectify the problems that have plagued America since it’s founding. Let’s make it right one step at a time! This is our call to action.

    In the mean time in-between time, check out this article with more photos showing the recent inauguration’s lack of attendees.