Posts Tagged ‘Diversity Speaker’

Nomalanga: The Truth about Black Women

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

I was just watching Oprah, on OWN TV, talking about how her grandmother was telling her, at the tender age of four, that she needed to pay attention to how laundry was done as her grandmother was doing the laundry. Even at four years old, she knew that what her grandmother was telling her about her future was not true. Her well meaning grandmother was trying to show Oprah how to do laundry so that one day she could find “good white folk” to work for as a maid.

Looking at Oprah now, I am amazed at how the acceptance or rejection of just one simple thought can change a person’s life. Imagine what Oprah’s life would have been like if she had accepted what her grandmother told her as the truth. The lesson that I draw from that is that we must not accept other people’s opinions of us as the truth.

Any time you hear about the “successful black woman” in the media, there is usually a negative cloud hanging over that image. Black women have to constantly refute those negative characteristics that are attributed to them. We have to constantly defend ourselves and at times we even allow ourselves to be squeezed into that image, usually because we’ve been poked, prodded and disrespected so much, for so long, that we finally REACT!
So, again, here is the simple lesson that I’m reminded of today, as I watch Oprah in all her magnificence: Don’t let other people’s limited and distorted opinions of you define you. Do not accept other people’s opinions of you, no matter how well meaning, as the TRUTH of who you are.

Audre Lorde, a Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist, put it best:

“If you didn’t define yourself for yourself, you would be crunched into other people’s fantasies of you and eaten alive.”

The question that I will leave you with is: Do you want to be “Oprah” or “the laundry lady”? The choice is yours; what you accept as the truth of who you are is your choice.

Nomalanga:Beyonce is not the face of black women

Friday, April 27th, 2012

In the video below, I share my views about Beyonce being named People magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman in the world.

Nomalanga: Are Black Men disabled?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Today, I received a message from a man who described himself as “a disabled black man”. He asked me a very important question in response to some of my posts that talk about what black men want or what black women want. For the purpose of this post, I will call him “G”.

G: what about black men

Me: What about them, G?

G: You wrote about what black women want – well as a black disabled male, I know they do not want disabled males

Because I do not personally know G, I had to assume that he was physically or mentally challenged and that is what he was referring to as “disabled”. This got me thinking; we all have some form of “disability” and “black men” are no different. In addition to that, I believe that black men have a collective “disability” that is unique to them. Through no choice of their own, they have been built into many people’s minds as a threat and every day, they have to overcome that “disability”. The Trayvon Martin case has reminded us that black men and boys can even be brutally killed because of this “disability”.

Here is how I responded to “G”:

I hear you [G]. I think it is important to re-define how people perceive who you call “black disabled males”. Being “black” or “disabled” or “male” are all secondary to being a human being. We all want to love and be loved and all the descriptions come after.

What we all want is for people to see us for who we are; not for what we can be described as. On a personal note, I have spent A LOT of time investing in my personal development and the people who genuinely love and appreciate me do so because of who I am and not what I can be described as.

We are all differently abled and there will always be people who can see past our “disability” and focus on what we are able to do. There is no one on this earth that is still alive that does not have some ability-the fact that we are here is a testament to the fact that we have ability and our own unique ability is our contribution to this life as long as we are alive.

Have a great day, [G]!

Here is the bottom line: The people in this country and the world, at large, are going to have to find a way to see people for who they are (human beings) before they see their “blackness” or any other “ness” that can describe them. We have to start seeing people without using a lense of racism or any other “ism” that we can come up with.

Nomalanga: Miss World announces contestants list-what about the judges?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is being reported that a list of 50 winners of national beauty pageants around the world was made public. These 50 are the first of what is expected to be a total of 120 women all vying for the Miss World 2012 title. What I find interesting is that we always know so much about the contestants but so little about the judges.

It makes sense that in order to protect the integrity of the judging process, the international beauty pageants would not disclose the names of the judges but I also think it is reasonable to expect that after the pageants, there should be full disclosure. If there is no transparency in the judging process, we can never be certain that the winner was chosen fairly.

My experience at Mrs World 2011
led me to write a letter to the Mrs World Pageant owners, specifically because the pageant lacked both transparency in the judging process and there was a lack of diversity in the selection of the judges as well. Of the nearly 60 women that entered the Mrs World pageant, there were no less that 12 women who were either African or identified themselves as being of African decent and yet, not one single one made it into the top 14. Of the women that the judges selected to go into the top 14, only Mrs Vietnam (a gorgeous and phenomenal woman) made it in. The problem with this is that the only non-white judge on the judging panel was a Vietnamese woman who is also a former Mrs Vietnam.

I’m saying all this to make one basic point, we need BOTH transparency and diversity in judging international pageants. If pageants are going to define beauty by narrow, euro-centric standards, then it may be best for those that do not fit into those narrow stands to forgo entering the pageants all together. Although pageants are about more than how the women look, it is next to impossible to deny that how the women look is certainly a critical factor in deciding who walks away with the title.

The main reason why I wrote the letter to the owners of the Mrs World pageant is because I believe that the Mrs World did not select a diverse pool of judges and in so doing, they opened most of the Mrs World contestants to an unfair pageant experience.

One thing that I absolutely love about the Miss World (not MRS) pageant system is that their judging system is such that they always have a finalist from every continent or region of the world. That being said, in their history, they have only, to my knowledge, ever had two Black women win the title. Statistically, that is not high enough and I hope that in the coming years, we will see an improvement. Being a finalist and or runner up is great, but black women deserve to wear the crown as well.

The Unmarried, Single, Pregnant Gospel Singer: What This Says about Black Women and Safe Sex

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Le’Andria Johnson, the winner of BET’s “Sunday Best” Gospel singing competition, recently revealed that she is unmarried and pregnant. Does this invalidate her status as a role model or has it become par for the course among African American women?

In the video below, Dr. Boyce Watkins speaks with YBW contributor Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses about the status of black women, safe sex and appropriate role model.
Source

Find Your Purpose

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

By Bishop T.D. Jakes
Living on purpose, as I define it, is to become aware that we were all created to serve some specific function in life. Some of these purposes might be lofty, attracting the accolades of the world. Some of these purposes may be down-to-earth, such as raising a child, teaching or engaging in some other activity that may not be as acknowledged by society but is still significant.

The pursuit of your life is to come into that purpose. And the waste of your life is to miss that purpose. The problem, though, for most of us is discovering what our purpose is. Here are a few mistakes we make while looking for it, ones that can distract or misdirect us.

1. The “But I Love It” Mistake
For a few years, I was involved in music. I was a choir director, and I played the piano. I noticed that when our choir got ready to sing, people got more blessed out of me introducing the song and talking about the song than they did from the song itself. Gradually I began to realize that the tail was wagging the dog. I love music to this day, and I have a fairly good understanding of music and theory and how they operate. But that’s not why I’m here on earth.

Just because you admire something doesn’t mean it’s your purpose. Don’t let yourself be distracted by something that should be a hobby. If you, like me, enjoy music, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be the one directing the song. Buy some CDs or enjoy music on your headset, just don’t let it take your focus.

2. The “But That Drives Me Crazy” Mistake
Usually, when things drive us crazy, we’re taught to walk away or ignore them. But sometimes it can help to take a closer look. For example, if somebody does something incorrectly, and their error drives us crazy, we shouldn’t criticize the person—we should look at what our inability to tolerate their error can show us. What you cannot stand to see done badly is exactly where you ought to work. If you can’t stand it when the church programs are done incorrectly or when the invitations are not sent out in time—if you want things in order—maybe you should consider working in an area of administration.

Other people might not even be bothered by these things, but your inability to put up with anything less than excellence means that you have an interest there. You need to recognize, “This is an area I have passion about.”

Read the rest here.

The Trayvon Martin case: We have work to do

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Ever since I heard about Trayvon Martin, the teenage boy who was brutally murdered by an over- zealous neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I was so emotionally impacted by the murder. I’ve realized that it means so much to me because a little over three years ago, I gave birth to the most adorable baby boy that I have ever known, my son.

Ever since the birth of my son, who is my second child, I have had to think about something that I never really used to give much consideration. I have had to think about what it means to grow up as a black boy in America. My husband, who was born and raised in America (I was born and raised in Botswana), has shared many stories of how he has experienced being assumed to be “dumb” in school, mainly because he was black and some stories about how he was assumed to be the aggressor in any conflict, again because he was Black. In spite of him having shared his experiences with me, the fact that he is now a grown man who has made tremendous advances in his career and his life goals, made his stories a little less real to me or at least not something that I had a great deal of concern about.

When I heard about Trayvon Martin, I had a moment where I wept uncontrollably and I realize that what has changed about me is that I am now a mother-I am Trayvon’s mother. My Trayvon is still only three years old and he goes by a different name that his father and I gave him but he is a sweet boy who we love very much and he does not deserve to be shot to death.

Read the rest here.


Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses is a wife, mother, professional speaker and an Assistant Professor of Professional Studies. For more information about Nomalanga’s programs, please click here.

You don’t deserve it…YET!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Have you ever worked really hard at accomplishing something or prayed really hard and had your mother, aunties and the whole church praying for you and still, NOTHING happened that you were working towards or hoping and praying for?
I was just reflecting this morning and I realized that some of the things that I “have” today, require a great amount of maturity, strength and faith to either have or to endure. If I had, for example, gotten married any sooner than I had, the marriage probably would have failed. It was not until I had learned some important lessons about me and about life and [God], that I got married and I’m so grateful that my prayers were not answered any sooner! Some of the lessons, I have had to learn along the way but I’m so grateful that I had the right foundation.

Marriage is just one example, but even in the last year or so, I have faced some very challenging circumstances and I realize that if I had faced them any sooner in my life, I probably would have crumbled. I’m saying all this to say this: If you’re not getting what you think you deserve or what you want, don’t look at it as something being withheld from you. Look at it as an opportunity to continue to prepare because if it is for you, it is for you! The only “thing” between you and what you want and or deserve is time. Consider that maybe you’re just not ready or you’re not adequately prepared.
I have such a wonderful life that if it were not mine, I would probably envy it! I’m not just bragging, but instead, I’m saying that to make this point: Getting what you want is the easy part; (even if it seems difficult), it’s maintaining what you have, whether its joy, a great job, a great marriage etc., which require the strength, wisdom, fortitude and faith that you may still be in the process of building and acquiring.

Imagine if you got your dream job and then a few days into it, you realized you were completely incompetent! Or, you married your dream man (or woman) and then realized that you were so broken that you were destroying the relationship, along with your spouse and yourself! The alternative is this, you may not get what you want when you want it but in the meantime, you cultivate, in yourself, the skills, wisdom and strength and whatever else it takes to handle “it” when you finally get “it”.
What I’m ultimately saying, my friends, can be summed up in three points:

1. If you feel that you have done everything you need to do to get what you want and have still not gotten it, you probably haven’t done EVERYTHING that needs to be done. Maybe you still have some growing to do…
2. Take time to appreciate where you are and what you have NOW. Total and complete acceptance of who you are, where you are and what your circumstances are is often the bridge that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.
3. If you want something, don’t ever give up. My life is a testimony to that! Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you should or should not want or have. You deserve every good thing that comes into your life and if you don’t get it, it may just not be the right time…YET. Again, don’t EVER give up!

Be well my friends and remember, sharing is sexy! Tweet or share this post on Facebook if you agree that sharing is sexy!

Viola Davis Won!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Viola Davis was nominated for an Oscar and she did not win, this year. Last week, before the Oscars, I watched the interview below and realized that even before she knew whether or not she won the Oscar, she had already won. I had the same experience at Mrs World.

There is a point in every woman’s life when she realizes the truth about who she is and from that moment, she is a winner.


Black women heavier and happier with their bodies than white women

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the Post-Kaiser poll, which offers the most extensive and nuanced look at the lives of black women in decades, 28 percent of black women say that being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11 percent of white women. White women were more likely than black women to say being attractive was “somewhat important.”

For African American women, that desire often gets defined in ways the mainstream culture doesn’t recognize.

Princeton professor Imani Perry teaches interdisciplinary classes in African American studies and notes black women have conceptions of beauty that are “not just tied to the accident of how you look as a consequence of your genes.” They include style, grooming, how you present and carry yourself, and “how you put yourself together, which I think generally speaks to the fact that we have a much broader and deeper conception of beauty.”

Gibson’s mission is to get women to embrace their size but to work toward being fit. She preaches acceptance but says white fitness professionals often seem almost resentful of her confidence.

“If I were this plump, meek person doing the same thing I do, I think they would embrace me.”

Her rule: “Do you,” Gibson says, “and be okay with me being me. I can never be mad at this thin person. I say, ‘You’re sexy, you’ve got it going on. But don’t think for one minute that I don’t feel the same about myself.’ ”

Read the story here from Washington Post.