Quarantine during the month of June proved that what I thought was bad could get worst. The month began with a desire that I could not shake, to bake…so I did. I baked red velvet cupcakes with buttercream icing. I remember baking in the midst of listening to the escalation of protests across the country on CNN. Baking was meant to calm my nerves and even distract me. I couldn’t answer another text from non-black friends, asking for resources. I could not stand to see people label the protestors as thugs. I could not fathom that Breonna Taylor’s murderers were still free and I could not process the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora, CO. The fact that he had to defend his humanity while being murdered by police for “walking while black” is heart-wrenching, proving that the current state of affairs is in dire need of disruption. I was angry, hurt, and exhausted, so baking was my escape. The cupcakes came out delicious.
I work in Diversity and Inclusion, so this month has been extra intense. Sending major prayers to all of the D&I professionals out there. The spotlight and pressure is on us and it can be very overwhelming but keep pushing, you got this! It’s bigger than us and this is the time we’ve been preparing for; being a change agent comes with a lot of responsibility but it’s so worth it at the end of the day.
Things went from bad to worst on June 7, 2020. My dog, Charlie, the love of my life, passed away suddenly on that day and I have been battling with grief and depression ever since. I am taking this really hard and I am struggling. The void of him no longer being here is so big, nothing seems to be able to fill it. He was so loved. And he showed us, unconditional love. There were so many plans we had for him and now, he’s gone. Pray for me and my family because we are not okay.
On a brighter note, about half-way through the month, I was able to post some new content on my YouTube channel and get creative with my writing. I am still on my hair and skin journey, which are both a work in progress but I have faith. Also, my TV journey is going strong.
Happy Pride Month!!!!!!!I discovered POSE, which is my new favorite show. It allowed me to go down a rabbit hole of ballroom culture culminating with the Paris is Burning documentary. So much of pop-culture is appropriated from the LGBTQ community. I also watched an amazing documentary on Netflix called Disclosure about the portrayal of the transgender community in media. There are black trans lives that are being murdered at alarming rates. I am proud of our movement for making space for All Black Lives because they matter. Check out the other shows I watched this month:
7 PM is one of the few things during this quarantine that gives me joy. I appreciate that every day at that time, my neighborhood gathers together to ring bells, clap, bang, and make a loud noise in celebration for our essential workers. It’s actually something I look forward to and a reminder that we are all in this together.
Last month, I wrote about the bright side of quarantine and looking at quarantine through a positive lens. It’s been a really great opportunity for me to get back to ME and build a routine that pours more time into me and not just work and other obligations. I am still writing and still shooting videos for my YouTube channel. I was also asked to shoot some Tribute videos for people, which have been really encouraging for me to pour into others and show how much they mean to me. I’ve been attending a new bible study, attending virtual events and I even had time to check out this YouTube show that I had no idea existed, called The Same Room (by The Shade Room)which is a talk show hosted by Stephanie Ike, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Woman Evolve in 2018. All of the episodes are captivating to me.
I am still watching TV. Below are some of the shows I’ve been watching for the month. During quarantine, I am also making the conscious decision to get serious about my finances. Having them under control is no longer enough. I want to financially thrive. More on this journey coming soon. Other journey’s I’ve embarked on is a skin and hair journey (both have been struggles for me since I can remember). I am using this time to drink my water daily, wash my hair weekly, and moisturize my skin during the day and at night. I’m so proud of myself.
However, my mental health and productivity took a turn for the worst two weeks ago when I heard about Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old black woman who was fatally shot by police in Kentucky, while serving a no-knock warrant on March 13th. It turns out that the suspect they were looking for was already in custody. Taylor was a health care worker and died senselessly at the hands of police, who was supposed to “protect” her. My heart sank. I was unproductive when I should’ve been working and quite frankly sad. I would even go so far as to say I was depressed. I looked at her face and saw me. She was a regular black girl just like me and if her family didn’t work so hard to garner social media exposure, her story would’ve been dusted under the rug like so many others. This was coupled by only a week before hearing about Ahmaud Arbery who was lynched while jogging. It is alleged that on his daily jog, he went into a construction site or “trespassed.” He didn’t take anything, just looking around, being inquisitive. You know, black people can be curious too. Two white men, father, and son, confronted Arbery and killed him. He was jogging! He tried to run away. He left the encounter DEAD. It took over 70 days for the state of Georgia to do anything. The Attorney General did not deem the crime warranted for an arrest. Just another black man dead, big deal right? That was until social media got a hold of it. Within days, the father/son murder duo’s lawyers were pleading for folks to have mercy on them; the exact words being “Don’t Rush to Judgement”… yes, this is a thing and if you know the full scope of the story then you know the irony of this too.
Some say death comes in threes. On Monday, May 25, two egregious acts of violence and white supremacy came across our TV and phone screens. The first, I saw as soon as I woke up because there was a twitter notification on my phone from Ava DuVernay. DuVernay was asked to do a documentary on White women weaponizing their color and privilege against black people. Ava replied that she didn’t think any streamer would make a 100-part documentary (HA!) I thought that would be a dope documentary but I was wondering why such a packaged question so early?
Then I saw it on the news Amy Cooper aka “Central Park Karen,” weaponized her race and privilege against bird watcher Christian Cooper. A black man. You know why this hurt? Because women like Amy are all around us. We encounter them, we work with them, they are lethal and dangerous. Emmett Till was mutilated and butchered because of a white woman like Amy Cooper. This stung deep because you don’t have to have a KKK hood to be racist, you can be a white woman in central park with a dog and be a racist and no one will ever know! WOW!
If that wasn’t enough, that same day, video footage of George Floyd came across every TV screen and social media post. We watched as Mr. Floyd screamed for his life exclaiming he could not breathe as a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on his neck in an attempt of restraining him. He was handcuffed. He was not resisting arrest. He was dying and I had to watch repeatedly, his slow and agonizing death. I had to hear his cries. 8-minutes of someone pinning their knee on your neck, like it’s a sport. This was haunting and deflating. I am exhausted, I am hurt, I am sad, I am heartbroken. A mind-numbing migraine began when I heard the news and has not stopped. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what else I need to read or learn about my history to give me hope because I’ve learned enough to know that history is repeating itself. The only thing that is keeping me sane is my belief in God, that’s it.
What has always bothered me about racism is that black people have been painted out to be the monsters, the kidnappers, the thugs, the looters, the angry ones, the uncivilized ones, the rapists, and the murderers but the gag is, historically RACISTS are the monsters, the kidnappers, the thugs, the looters, the angry ones, the uncivilized ones, the rapists and the murderers. When I think about the act of slavery and how human beings were kidnapped from their countries, stripped from families, a whole culture lost, just to come on a boat and be packaged like sardines, murdered and raped during the middle passage, sold off on an auction block and chained like animals at the hands of racist white people…all the while being whipped, tortured and dehumanized in a system where the workers did not profit, I am baffled. Blacks have worn the burden and taken the brunt for the atrocities of racist white people since the first slave ship landed on American soil. The other night I had to ask myself, why am I sitting here arguing with my black boyfriend about racism and when it will end, when we are not the problem, we are not racist, we are victims of racism and therefore cannot determine when it will end. When will racism end is a question that racist white people need to answer. When are racist white people going to argue until their blue in the face with their significant others, families, and friends about these issues of race that their ancestors caused and that they continue to perpetuate when they threaten to use their privilege to lie on a black bird watcher or use their knee to kill a man whose only crime was using a fake $20 bill? The fact that we have to bear the responsibility of teaching white people why racism is bad and how it impacts us when we’re not the racists is insanity, especially when they don’t understand or recognize their racism. This and everything else I outline in this paragraph is gaslighting 101 and I am fed up.
So while quarantine has it’s good times, being black in quarantine rings a whole new bell and brings with it a new burden and we are not okay.