Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Check Me Out at Beast Crawl Literary Festival in Oakland

Beast Crawl is one of the largest, if not the largest, literary festival in Oakland. It's kind of like a pub crawl where you hop from one bar to another with group of people. During Beast Crawl, you hop from different locations in Downtown Oakland to listen to writers read their work. If you've ever been to Litquake, they're very similar except this one has Oakland, East Bay flavor.

I'm excited to be reading with Liminal, a feminist/womanist writing space in Oakland founded by Gina Goldblatt. We are going to break shit down and keep it real about womanhood and gender with our storytelling and poetry. What you get on this blog is what you'll get from me in person, but even better.

So come out on Saturday, July 16th at Darling's Elixr in Downtown Oakland, 6:30-7:30pm. And the best part is Beast Crawl is free! You get to hear some of the most amazing writers, in person, for free. I hope to see you there.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Get Your Mojo Back...And Your Freedom

At the 7th Annual Juneeteenth Awards Celebration
in Oakland.
The hustle. The grind. They turn your dreams into reality. Some people romanticize the hustle and the grind. The boast about hustling, grinding, not sleeping, working 27 hours a day for their dream--all of that. I don't brag about hustling and grinding. It's hard work. It's draining. But I do it because I'm passionate about my dream and my writing. But sometimes the grind can grind your spirits.

A post from Humans of New York touched me (pretty much all HONY posts touch me). It featured a woman who said she lost her mojo. She had confidence and high hopes in college and grad school. But after that, "Life beat me up a little bit," she said. "And these days I’m wondering if I have what it takes to put together a single deal. I’m not sure exactly how it happened. But somewhere along the way, all my confidence got replaced by questions. Are you smart enough? Do you have enough resources? Who are you fooling? But I’m going to start changing the narrative. I’m taking this as a sign from the universe that I’ve got to get my mojo back."

I've felt like this sometimes. As we live life happens and sometimes it sucks out the fire inside of us. I felt like this during a recent battle with writer's block. I prayed and asked God to lift me up. The next day I saw this HONY post and it reminded me that I'm not alone in my feelings. Then the day after that,  I went to speak at the Juneteenth Awards Celebration in Oakland, hosted by and We Tell Our Stories Film Collective. I spoke about lifting up Black girls and how mental health stigma in the church affected me. I'm so grateful that the audience appreciated my message. I got a standing ovation. To my surprise they presented me a certificate of recognition from the California Legislature Assembly. So many other amazing people in the community were also honored, including my friend/writer/mental health advocate Lyndsey Ellis. It means a lot when your peers and community say they appreciate you. That night, the people at the event, the friends with me gave my spirit a boost.

Prior to all of this, when I posted that at times I could relate to the woman on HONY, someone responded with encouraging words that also lifted me up. Right before I started writing this post, one of my closest friends drunk texted me that she loved me and is inspired by my writing. Nothing like a loving drunk text from a good friend. 

This all added fuel to the passion in my heart. I'm not saying that you need to be recognized by your state to get your mojo back. But if it's possible to lose your mojo, it's also possible to find it again. It may start with going to friends to lift you up. Or looking at the great things you did in the past and remembering that person is still in you. Regardless of the kids, marriage, bills, health issues, job loss, deaths, etc. --that passionate person is still in you. And maybe once you get your mojo back that passionate person inside will re-emerge even better. 

One song that I play to get me pumped and my mojo flowing is "Freedom" from Beyonce's Lemonade album. That song gives me new life every time I play it. Bey and Kendrick Lamar rocked the hell out of that song on the BET Awards tonight. That performance was EPIC. When they were kicking and dancing in the water--whooooo you have to watch it.

Free yourself from the self-doubt and thoughts of the impossible. The grind and hustle aren't easy. They aren't pretty. But as Bey sings, "...keep running because a winner doesn't quit on themselves."

Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar perform "Freedom" at the
BET Awards. Visit for more
performances from the awards show. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Interview With Fantastic Negrito is on

I told you in a recent post that I would have some special news regarding Black roots artist Fantastic Negrito! Well it's all in the title of this post. It's rare when a person gets to sit down with an artist they admire and ask them anything they want. This is why I love being a journalist.

I enjoyed our interview and I learned a lot about Black artists from the back in the day who laid the foundation for rock, punk and other sounds in pop culture. It's a great interview. This is my second piece for Ebony. Read on and buy Fantastic Negrito's new album The Last Days of Oakland. Also, he's currently touring with Chris Cornell, so check him out in a city near you. He is AMAZING live.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Okay I Heard You. I'll Watch the O.J. Documentary


You all have been asking me on social media to watch this O.J.: Made in America documenatary.  I don't have cable so it took me a while to get access.  I'll having something soon. And in case you'e wondering, my father is not watching the series.

Friday, June 17, 2016

How Do Women of Color Define Sexuality?

This spring I attended the Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley. I’m amazed that graduate students, GRAD STUDENTS, have organized and hosted this for 31 years. I barely had time to wash dishes when I was in grad school let alone organize a conference. I spoke at this conference a few years ago.

I attended a workshop titled “Reclaiming Love: Behind the Brush and Pen of Frida Kahl, One Mujuer of Many Who Has Nothing to Lose But Her Chains “ San Francisco State University grad students Jewell Bachelor and Marbeya Montero presented this great workshop. I love Frida Kahlo and wanted to reflect on what I learned in a series of posts.

For an icebreaker they asked us to list three words to describe women of color and sex. I t was hard to choose just three.

1. Complex—Sexuality is complex for many women in general, because of sexism, misogyny, patriarchy and homophobia. For women of color, we add racism to that oppressive cocktail.. As a Black woman I know there’s a racist history to our sexuality in the United States. And because we don’t know how people will perceive us because of all of these things, we may not express our sexuality how we want.

I always say women are damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Our presentation to the world may be too conservative for some, too sexy for others or just right to a few.

But complexity isn’t all negative. Culture plays a part in our sexuality. Sometimes that’s not always a bad thing. I’m a Cali girl with Southern, Black Protestant roots. Just even liking boys was strongly discouraged. On the other hand, Black musicians and artists have made some of the best, sexy, sensual music ever.

I also love how in Black culture most of us find curves sexy. The Black woman’ s behind is special. Black women have been twirking and shaking our asses for centuries, going back to Africa. These movements are more sexualized in the West, but a Black woman shaking her ass to entice her lover or just be sexy is beautiful. Even Beyonce  knows what’s up. She starts off her song “Rocket,” “Let me sit this ass on you, show you how I feel.” She initiates a sexual connection to her lover with her boo-tay. 

When I see women from the Caribbean wind, I think it’s gorgeous. But the complexity is that we’re shamed for it. Or women of other races who try to imitate it get more approval. Race makes sexuality more complex.

2. Pleasure

I hope women of color are experiencing pleasure. We sing about it. We rap about it. We write about it.  We paint and draw it. I hope women of color of all sexualities are experiencing pleasure.
Many of us have experienced pain and abuse when it comes to sex. But I’ve also met women of color who are learning about their bodies, and what turns them on. It reminds me of the book The Color Purple when Celie, a poor and abused woman, first experiences sexual pleasure with Shug Avery.

I’m meting women more willing to tell their partners what feels good, what they want. I’m reading more articles about Black women experiencing pleasure”out of the box” whether it’s being open to loving someone from another race/culture to embracing their kink.

3. Agency

It’s extremely important for women of color to be able to express and define their sexuality according to how they see themselves through their own eyes.

Okay so that was the first part of this series. Part II is coming up!  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Can We Live In Peace ?

Just over a week ago I was scared and praying for my sister who is a student at UCLA because some angry and unstable man decided to travel to the school and shoot a former professor. And the school reacted like it was a possible mass shooting. The incident held people's attention for a short time, then America moved on.

Then today I woke up and learned that 50 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Fifty people. Fifty people told someone they loved them for the last time, because a deranged man had a gun in his hand and hate in his heart. It's being reported as the largest mass shooting. Most of the victims were gay Latino men. I wonder if there both homophobic and racist motives behind these killings.

Will America mourn this tragedy for a few days then move on like we've done other shootings? People shouldn't be afraid to go to the mall, movies, nightclub, school, places of worship, etc. We've got to do something. A meme and a hashtag aren't enough.

The shooter claimed to be affiliated with ISIS but I'm not buying it. I think he was homophobic and hate drove him him. People just want to live in peace.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

One Stop for Jenee Darden's Posts on The People v. O.J. Simpson

For those new to my blog, I'm Jenee Darden. My father is former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden aka The Bald Headed Dude from the O.J. Trial aka That Guy That Looks Like Tommy from Martin

During the original run of The People v. O.J. Simpson I publicly disclosed that I was my father's oldest daughter, and shared how the trial impacted me. I was 15 during the trial and a lot of stuff went down in my personal life and my family's life as a result of the trial. But the public didn't know how this affected the families of high-profile figures in the trial. 

 I posted a review of each episode with my thoughts on what was real and was made for T.V. 

For those watching today's marathon, here is a list of all my posts on the series. Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

My Sorority Sister Deshauna Barber is the NEW Miss USA

 I am so excited for our new Miss USA DeShauna Barber. I was out and about and missed the pageant. But apparently she did well. She earned the crown. Barber is a member of my sorority Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. I was not only pulling for her out of sisterhood but also because she served in the military, along with most of her family. I supported this young woman, who serves our country, in wanting to represent our country.

Women are so dynamic. Our womanhood is not static. Deshauna Barber wears combat boots and high heels. She is soldier and beauty queen. I'm excited about her future and advancement to the Miss Universe pageant.

I often write about how we rarely see darker-skinned Black women representing beauty. To see this smart, Chocolate complexion Black woman from Washington, DC with the name Deshauna feels good. I heard that the three finalists were women of color. I can't recall watching a Miss USA or Miss Universe and all of the finalists were women of color. Beauty comes in many colors and national pageants are waking up to that.

Tomorrow I will be wearing my crown in honor of our new Miss USA. Visit Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for my photo.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fantastic Negrito Concert in Oakland was LIT

You must, you must, you MUST buy Fantastic Negrito's album The Last Days of Oakland.

Some of you may have heard of Fantastic Negrito when he beat out 7,000 people in a music contest for NPR. I saw him perform at a private party and he rocked the hell out of the stage. I went home and bought his album immediately. My friend bought his CD right there. Fantastic Negrito is a blend of blues, roots, punk and rock. He recently performed on Empire.

His new album The Last Days of Oakland is about gentrification, racism today and hardships of the working class. He performed live on Friday night for Oakland's monthly First Friday street fair. I rocked out. I get tired of songs about the club and womanizing. His lyrics have depth and many people can relate to what he's talking about.  I'm glad I got a photo with him before he really blows up.

I'll have some special news about Fantastic Negrito very soon. I'm excited!


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Fly Visitors

blogger statistics
blogger statistics