I am an avid reader of magazines and I must admit a bit of a pack rat when it comes to saving and collecting magazines. What is always amazing to me is that I can pick up an old issue of a magazine and always find something new and relevant. Well, on that note I picked up last summer's issue of Oprah at Home and there was a fabulous article on the last page. It was entitled "My Girl" and it is an article about one of my favorite journalists; Gwen Ifill and a picture her brother Oliver had painted for her. It is beautiful vibrant picture of a young black girl on a bright red canvas. Here is what Gwen said about the picture:
"I call her colored girl. I love black girls. I think that we have such promise. And I think that we must have a certain type of uplift in our spirits because there are so many things out there waiting to beat us down. Every time I look at her, I see something else that is beautiful.
"She has a series of keys around her neck, with one latch key in her hand, showing that she knows she has responsibilities. The keys suggest self-sufficiency, the ability to control your destiny, and the ability to unlock any door and walk through it. I love that she is gazing up and not down. She looks like she is in complete control of whatever she's about to do next. I love that her hair does not fit into her little ponytail holders because it reminds me of what so many of us little black girls have gone through, wearing our hair exactly that way. If her hair were perfect then something would be wrong with the picture". Gwen comments on the fact that the painting brings a sense of cohesiveness to her entire home, a rootedness. She says "It is perfectly in tune with the sense of spirit, welcome, and refuge that I want in my house. The painting is a remainder of the blessings that God brings to our lives everyday."
I immediately related to Gwen Ifill, the art work and most importantly, that young black girl so full of the promise that lies within all of us. I think of myself when I was a young girl; even then I knew I was called to do something, something that involved a tremendous amount of responsibility. I felt so connected because I think of the many times that I have felt beat down,I think of so many of my black sisters who have been beat down, abused, sold on the slave box, forced out of airline seats, beaten, disempowered, betrayed, oppressed, abandoned, denied our sweat equity, lied to and taken advantage of.
Our hair, although beautiful, is in many instances a source of pain, frustration and low self esteem. So often we have to literally "relax it", hot comb it, process, weave it and flat iron it into submission our the current definition of beautiful. We struggle to make it fit and from early stages it never quite fits into those hair barettes and ponytail holders that were not designed for us in the first place.
I know that little girl and she is alive and well inside my head, inside my heart and inside my soul. She is eager to be responsible and holds the keys and responsibility of her mother, her aunts and her sister friends in her hands.
Let's celebrate these young girls, let's talk to them, let's give them a voice that they are so often denied. Let's talk.
Much love to you,
I identified with today's "My Girl" article on three fronts. One because I too am a 3rd generation of magazine pack ratters. I don't know if I'm proud of that or not. I live in a victorian home so of course I have about 10 years worth of victoria magazines that are in mint condition. I just made a conscious decision to donate them to a worthy cause. On the second front, I have two types of hair. I have my mom's peoples hair which is a bit of a challenge and my dad's peoples hair that is obedient and very coorperative. As the gray hair introduced itself, both sides maintained the same testimony. Finally, the biblical reference to our hair is that it is our crown of glory. The problem is that as queens and princesses, we have to learn how to wear our crown. A crown is a crown, is a crown! It starts with the acknowledement of who we are.
Often, people will attempt to define us by our hair. The result for them is that they apply the wrong definition because they used the wrong dicitionary. What I am loving about Soul Purpose already is that our beauty is being manifested in a very diverse way. Together, we will bring the true meaning of beauty which begins on the inside. Integrity will be our heart, Wisdom will be our head, Character will be our cause and Love will be our lifestyle. Thank you Nadine for
your leadership. Know that you are loved and understand above all that noone can love you like Jesus!
Visionary Circle member
I related so much to the article in so many ways. When I was a little girl growing up with my grandpaerents in a very very small town, I can remember I was always a dreamer. I used to dream of being a star. I use to stand in front of the mirror, with a towel on my head pretending it was my long flowing hair and singing, "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross..LOL.. My hair was short and I would walk around with a towel on it pretending it was long. I wanted to be a singer like Diana Ross and a Laboratory Technician just like my momma. Nothing was impossible back then. I remember sitting on the "bean can" while my grandmother pressed my hair. I still can hear the hair sizzling while she put that grease on it and that hot comb. The things we done and still do to be beautiful, when I have come to realize of we really have to do is BE! We don't need a whole lot of "make-up" because we have nothing to "make-up" for. In reality it wasn't made for us anyway. Everybody wants to be like us. So all we have to do is BE!
This also makes me think of my own girl Nia Imani. I named her that after the two of the principles of Kwanzza, PURPOSE and FAITH! Nothing is impossible to her. Every since she was two, she's wanted to ice skate. She said mommy I don't have to take lessons, I already know how, just let me skate. That is so profound because in her mind she could already do it even though she had never put on a pair of ice skates before. She is so bright eyed and full of joy and happiness. One day I was feeling kind of down and she told me mommy, just be happy, just BE HAPPY!
So to everybody out there JUST BE HAPPY!!! BE AND IT IS!
I enjoyed reading the "My Girl" article because as a little girl I enjoyed cutting out pictures from magazines and pasting them in my home-made scrap book. I'm a tad bit hesitant to admit that the little girl in me would only cut pictures out of white women with long hair. I wanted so much to have long, straight hair like theirs until, as fate would have it, my grandmother got a hold of my scrap book and questioned the reason for its content. When I explained that I loved their hair and desired to have the same long, silky texture, my grandmother explained, with that kindly twinkle in her eyes, what I am - a brown-skinned colored girl (our identity back then), and colored girls were not meant to wear the same texture of hair. She explained whose I am (a child of a King), and how beautiful I was just the way I am, and that God did not make any mistakes. She made certain that I understood why I should be proud of who, whose, and what I am. She went on and on, and I can honestly say that I've been very happy with my kinks as well as who I am, what I am, and whose I am ever since.
Visionary Circle Member
& the symbolism of self-reliance with the keys, too!
(in the summer 2007 issue of O.)
It's Beautiful &
I really hope to find out more
about this Artist's work.
Oprah's recommendation was enough for me. I read My Stroke of Insight and I loved it too. This story is as inspiring as The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie - and even better, it has a Happy Ending!
I bought the book on Amazon because they have it for 40% off retail and they also had an amazing interview with Dr Taylor that I haven't seen anywhere else - Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/0670020745/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211471755&sr=1-2