Posts Tagged ‘role models’

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

Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Check out this interview that Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker did with essence.com. I love seeing marriage work and I love it even more when the happy couples share their “secret to success”. Enjoy!

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Why you should love a “hoe”, b*tch or “chicken head”

Monday, February 6th, 2012

When a woman has been raised in a home and, maybe, also a society that has minimized her, marginalized her and also disrespected and disregarded her, she may not realize that it has been repeatedly suggested to her that she is somehow inferior and the expectations that have been set for her life fall far below the potential that exists in her. She may not realize that she has bought into a lie.

You may know these women. They buy into the lie for different reasons. Among those reasons are religious beliefs that have been taken out of context or completely distorted. Some buy into the lie because their limited environment has only shown them one “reality” and in that reality all they see is evidence of their lack of power and their lack of significance. Some others have been brutally beaten (verbally, mentally and/or physically) and they have endured that treatment for so long that it is next to impossible to imagine that they could be valued, loved and respected. For some, what they have endured is more subtle and less recognizable; they are just overlooked or talked over, talked down to or ignored.

What these women do not see is the truth of WHO they are and who they were Created to be. You might ask: Who are they?

They are children of GOD.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

The next time you see one of these women, don’t laugh at her ignorance or “backward thinking” or call her a “hoe”, b*tch or chicken-head. Instead, look beyond WHAT she has become and instead see her for WHO she is. If you see her for WHO she is, how can you not love her?

HOW I WON AT MRS WORLD 2011

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

1. I became a pioneer for my country as the first ever Mrs Botswana
In the history of Botswana, no married woman has ever taken the courageous and bold step to enter the Mrs World pageant and represent the beautiful married women of Botswana. I am proud and honored to have opened this door and it is my hope and desire that we will continue in this new and unique way of recognizing the hard work, accomplishments and beauty of the married women of Botswana.

2. I achieved a lifelong dream of representing my country at an international pageant
In 1997, I entered the Miss Botswana (World) pageant and was honored to attain second place and be crowned the first princess of Miss Botswana 1997. Mpule Kwelagobe won that year and a couple of years later she was the first ever contestant from Botswana to enter the Miss Universe pageant. Mpule went on to make history as the first ever Black African woman to win the Miss Universe pageant. Mpule’s win brought all us Batswana a great deal of joy and pride and I believe she represented us exceptionally but my desire to compete at an international pageant never left. By competing in the Mrs World 2011 pageant, I finally fulfilled one of my big dreams.

3. I raised awareness and brought attention to issues that I’m passionate about.
Those that know me know that I recently designed, piloted and taught a college level course designed for young black women and other women of color. I believe that personal development is the bridge that takes us from where we are to where we were born to be and my passion and purpose is to instill this one principle in as many young women as I can. Mentorship and good roles models affect us in such positive ways and the more women of substance that stand up and lead by example, the more of a positive impact we can make in our families, our communities and society as a whole.

4. I reclaimed my health, beauty and vigor.
When I decided to enter the Mrs World pageant, I decided to be the best that I can be. I walked in looking my best and feeling my best. It was about being the most beautiful, healthy, fit and positive ME that I could be and going after this goal injected some passion back into my life and I channeled it into doing better with my eating and exercise habits!

5. I made lifetime friends.
I was loved, affirmed, validated, encouraged and understood and it did not just stop there, I met women who I instantly loved and appreciated and I poured into them in the same way that they poured into me. I laughed and cried and connected with such phenomenal women and my life is forever changed by that beautiful experience.

6. I brought “Noma” to the Mrs World pageant
One of the things that I heard most consistently before and during the pageant was “just be yourself” and that is exactly what I did. Some people loved it, some liked it and some…not so much :-). The victory here is that I accept myself as I am and that opens the door for others to do the same and that is one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned in my adult life.

7. I took my very first “solo” and much needed vacation ever since I got married and subsequently had children.
Since I got married and had children, I have never been away from all of them and my job all at the same time. What this experience has done for me is that it gave me time and space to reflect on my life and my life choices. It gave me a new sense of appreciation for my wonderful husband and my beautiful children.

8. I carried myself with grace and dignity.
The low moment in this pageant experience was the announcement of the top 14 the judges selected and sadly, there was not a single African woman or black woman or a woman of African heritage or descent amongst them-not a single one. At a point during the final night, there was talk of the all black women boycotting the pageant and just walking off. I was instrumental in negotiating with those that felt strongly enough to do it and asked them to maintain their grace and dignity even in the moment of such blatant disrespect and disregard. We all walked back on the stage and supported the winner, Mrs America; a beautiful woman with such a big heart that I felt the crown was in its rightful place.

9. I realized just how much my friends and family love, admire and support me.
During the week leading up to the pageant, I got so many messages of love, encouragement and motivation from friends and family from all around the world and I am forever grateful for that. I am so humbled by the amount of faith that “my people” had in [God] and what he could do through me.

10. I failed to get the crown but every failure takes me one step closer to my ultimate success.
At the end of the day, I did not walk home with the crown and that is okay because as I said, every failure (even though this was ultimately not a failure) leads to my ultimate success and my success is that of my husband, Ezra Moses, my children, my parents and family, my community and my country, the diamond of Africa-Botswana.

Ke a leboga bagaetsho. (translation: Thank you my brethren /my countrymen)

African American Women and thier families

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

This morning I read an excellent article that reminded me why I decided to raise the standard of my behavior and why I continue to do my best to become a better woman, wife and mother.

When my baby boy was born two and a half years ago, my life changed and it has never been the same. Considering that I had already had my now five year old daughter, I couldn’t understand why having a baby had such a transformational effect on me.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that the reason why the birth of my son changed me so much was because I live in America and my son is one day going to grow up to be a “black man”. Being a black man in America, I believe, is one of the most complex of existences. Currently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of black men is at 18% while “white” male unemployment is at 8%. I generally don’t watch the news anymore, but when I used to, more often than not, I would see a mug shot of some black man while the news commentator said something along the lines of “wanted” or “armed and dangerous”. And now I am raising a future “black man”.

Since the birth of my son, I have become more aware and maybe even sensitive to how young black men are perceived and treated. I’ve become more aware of how I treat my own husband because he is the model that my son is looking at to shape his perception of how a man should be treated as well as how he should behave. I cannot control my husband or what he says and does, but I know that I can control myself and how I behave. My son (and my daughter) is watching and for that reason, I will never stop being the best role model that I can be.

You can check out the article here.

Jada Pinkett-Smith on The View

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Today Jada Pinkett Smith was on The View to get the word out about the upcoming third season of her show Hawthorne. She actually spent more time talking about her husband and her children than she spent talking about her show.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jada because she, like many of us working wives and mothers, is continually balancing both the pursuit of her own dreams and aspirations and the needs of her husband and children. Her husband, Will Smith, needs no introduction as one of the most, if not the most, successful male actor(s) in Hollywood. Her son, Jaden, enjoys a tremendous acting career that many in Hollywood still aspire to have. Her daughter, Willow surprised even her mother with the success of her single “whip my hair” which has earned her the title of “pop sensation”. As if all that were not enough, Jada is the star of Hawthorne, a successful television show which is back for the third season.

I was particularly pleased to see Jada Pinkett Smith yesterday because the story of her life is one of success and positivity. Recently, there seems to be a so much coverage, in the media, of black women either being spoken about negatively or being reported for bad acts such as robbery and throwing babies out of moving cars or acting in reality shows that portray them negatively.

There is a stereotype that black women cannot maintain marriages and that they are angry and difficult to deal with so women like Jada Pinkett Smith are a welcome breath of fresh air. She not only has maintained her marriage for fourteen years, but she still even after all those years has wonderful things to say about her husband, Will Smith. To Mrs. Smith, I say “You go girl!”

Rihanna ‘s “Man down” video causes a stir

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Recently, the media has been buzzing about Rihanna’s video “Man down” in which she plays a character that is raped and then shoots her rapist in the head. In a telephone interview that I heard online, Rihanna defends her video by saying that she is using her music (and talents-my words) to bring attention to an issue that she feels needs more attention.

A lot of the uproar about the video is that many are saying it is too graphic for young children to watch and it is sending the wrong message to rape victims. My response to this argument is that Rihanna is not responsible for what small children are exposed to on television; parents are! If a parent feels that Rihanna’s video is too graphic for his or her children then the action to correct the problem needs to come from the parent, not Rihanna.

On the issue of what kind of message the video sends to rape victims, my thoughts are that a video is not going to make a woman who would otherwise not commit a murder go out and commit one. I do however think that watching that video may make a potential rapist think twice before he rapes a woman (or man). A lot of crimes are perpetrated by people who think they can get away with committing the crime and this video suggests that even if the law doesn’t get the rapist, the victim might!

Please note that I am not saying that it is justifiable for rape victims, or victims of any other crimes, to now take the law into their hands. What I’m saying is that I support what Rihanna is doing. She is shedding light on a very important issue, using the platform that she has and I think that that is commendable.

Black Woman Redefined

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

For over a year now, I have been writing and blogging about issues that affect women’s lives and more specifically Black Women’s lives. One of the reasons why I took an interest in black women’s issues was that being a black woman, I realized that the way that we were portrayed in the media and the way that we were perceived even in our own communities was not congruent with what I believed was true about who we really are.

My desire is to contribute to positively shifting the image of black women which, unfortunately, has been grossly misunderstood, misinterpreted and attacked. I am pleased to recommend a new book by Sophia Nelson titled “Black Women Redefined”, which I believe carries a powerful message for and about Black Women.

See the trailer here

Tyra Banks to become a “baby mama”?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

This past week, many news outlets have been reporting that while on CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ show Tyra Banks hinted that she “may be” trying to have a baby soon. She then went on to say that there were no wedding bells ringing any time soon and when asked if marriage should come before the baby, she replied, “I don’t think it’s necessarily necessary.”

Now, generally, I have nothing but love for Tyra Banks but I’m disappointed by the way that she seems to be treating such serious issues so lightly! First of all, having a baby, if at all, is something that should be very well thought out and planned if you’re going to walk that path unmarried. Second of all, Tyra Banks should and probably does know that the statistics of unwed women having children in African American communities is alarming! These same statistics have been shown in study after study to have a correlation with a lot of the negative issues that people face in African American communities, such as the institutionalization of young black men and high pregnancy and high school dropout rates for young women.

I have said it before and I will say it again, women like Tyra Banks are role models and they have a responsibility to young women (and men) to hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct. Obviously Tyra has the right to make choices for herself that make sense for her but she has to do so in a responsible manner. Carelessly going on television and throwing words like “maybe” and “necessarily necessary” around while discussing issues as serious and sobering as marriage and having children fall way below the expectations that I had for Ms. Banks.

My appeal to Ms. Banks is simple: Be mindful of what you’re saying and doing. A lot of young women look up to you to set the standard for “model” (pun intended) behavior!

Jacob Lusk sings Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” on American Idol

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

I just watched Jacob Lusk singing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” on American Idol. As usual, Jacob sang his lungs out and I held my breath the whole time! That young man is indisputably talented and I love watching him sing. That being said, for me, it was not just about his gift of a voice but also about the lyrics of the song he sang.

My favorite Michael Jackson song of all time is “Man in the Mirror” so you can imagine my delight when I heard Jacob Lusk ‘sang’ it. If I have one personal philosophy about life, it is expressed in this song:

If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

Basically, the biggest change that you can effect is within yourself. You cannot begin to change the world until you change (overcome) yourself.

When I got married over six years ago, my sister in law made a short speech and gave us two pieces of valuable advice. She told us to “always be fluid like water and take the path of least resistance”. The second piece of advice, much like Michael Jackson’s song was very wise. She basically told us that anytime we feel a challenge in our marriage, instead of looking at the other person (spouse), to look at ourselves and make a change. Years later, I still operate on this one philosophy when dealing with a challenge in my marriage and in other areas of my life.

So what am I suggesting? Well, it is simple; if you feel like a change needs to happen, start with the man in the mirror…

Peace