This is for my sistas! From the time we are little we begin the self demeaning act of comparing ourselves to others. It can become a habit and really suck the life out of you and where you’re trying to go. So, just stop! Love, know and accept yourself and the sky is the limit!
It’s Shout Out Sunday here at BLAM and we’re shouting out John Rewind Gunter! There are so many images of black men out there that are negative, uninspiring, demeaning and life draining. If we paid attention to those images and those images only we would fail to see the beauty and strength and brilliance in our men. There is nothing like a black man paying honor to his black woman. Nothing like it. So, when John Gunter reached out to us to share his art we knew instantly that we wanted to help amplify his message….
And his message….it is oh so very powerful. Its a message elevating and uplifting black women. It’s a message that cherishes and celebrates black women. We salute John Gunter for his salute to black women everywhere! Check it out.
John “Rewind” Gunter, Jr. is an IT Security Engineer for a Fortune insurance company. During the weekends(and by night) he transform into a Rapper, Spoken Word Artist, Author and Professional Speaker(whatever that means). He’s been married for almost 3 years and is a father of a 9 month old daughter. All social media handles are @TheRealRewind. You can visit him at therealrewind.com
Ladies…this video was not made to offend, but rather to inspire. I believe that you have the capacity to have the relationship you want. It’s easy to get caught up in the weeds…in the mess…in the DRAMA. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get caught up because that’ the only existence we know. Ladies, we want you to know that there’s a life outside of the DRAMA….and that if you want something different you’ve got to challenge yourself to be and do something different. Stop Playin’ and Start Pushin’!
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By Marie Hartwell- Walker, Ed.D
You may remember the chant from childhood:
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes the baby in a baby carriage.
It may have once been fun to jump rope to the rhyme, but these days, it’s far, far from the truth. 40 percent of children today are born to single mothers. Some births are accidental — happily or sadly welcomed. Others are planned by women discouraged about finding a solid and loving partner.
What used to be understood as the order of things isn’t so orderly anymore. Baby may come first, not last, in the rhyme.
Single mothers with children rarely give up the dream of finding love and making a life with someone. Sometimes everything just falls beautifully into place. The mom meets a new love who embraces both the parent and child and all three go on to live happily ever after.
But most of the time, life isn’t so smooth. Sometimes the child seems to be an obstacle to finding a mate. One male after another says some version of, “Well, I love you but your kids are in the way of our relationship.” What happens then?
If you’re a single mother who has fallen in love, make sure you know what your sweetheart is prepared to do about becoming part of a family before you start dreaming of tying the knot. If your true love says he never wanted kids, doesn’t now, can’t stand kids, sees kids as a drain on money, time, and fun, or doesn’t want anything to do with your child’s other parent (if that parent is in the picture) or the grandparents from your ex, go very slow and see if he means it.
It’s just true. Sometimes people are so in the habit of saying something that they haven’t thought for a long time about whether they really mean it. Sometimes, a man who never thought about having kids in his youth is open to rethinking his position as an older adult. It’s worth asking.
But if he can’t think about changing his mind and folding children into his life in a genuine, loving way, he probably won’t. Marrying a man who is anti-children has huge implications for your relationship with your children and your relationship with him.
Don’t pretend that he’ll fall in love with your children because, after all, they’re wonderful. A man who goes into a relationship with children expecting not to like it probably won’t. Worse, the children will feel his rejection on a daily basis. They won’t like him and they will be angry with you for bringing him into their lives.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that he can be minimally involved. At some point, it’s likely you’ll get resentful that he isn’t helping with the daily demands of managing a household with children. At some point, he’ll resent the time you are spending with the kids.
Don’t persuade yourself that you can be the kind of romantic partner you were when you were young and child-free. It’s harder to date when you have to cancel repeatedly because kids got sick or needed a ride or needed help with homework. He’ll resent your distraction. You’ll resent his lack of concern for your children’s welfare.
If you give in and make uncomfortable compromises in your parenting, you will lose respect for yourself. Your kids are likely to get clingy or angry or both. Yes, parents can and do carve out some time for romance but it’s always with the knowledge that kids’ needs can disrupt the best laid plans.
If you have children and you are looking for love and marriage, hold out for a man who understands that…
- Loving you means learning to love your children. They are part of you and part of your life. Yes, it’s more complicated than marrying a childless person who is free to spend all her time and affection on someone else. But it’s also more rewarding. Marrying a woman with children makes an instant family. Marrying a woman with children provides the chance to relive the positive experiences of growing up or to heal old hurts by making a better childhood for someone else’s kids. A man who embraces your children as an opportunity to have even more love in his life is someone to take seriously.
- Loving you means understanding that the kids take priority while you transition. You fell in love with your partner. The kids didn’t. They will be ambivalent, no matter how wonderful you think your guy is. They are likely to have strong feelings about not having all your attention and time. They may resist adjusting to changes that come with marriage. It falls on the adults to be adults and to put kids’ needs first for awhile. They will need help making the countless big and little changes that come with accommodating another person in their home and their lives.
- Loving you means getting involved with the whole family. To make a family with you is to get it that their grandparents, aunts, and uncles and cousins and whoever else is related by birth or by choice will be part of life as well. Kids need to be connected to their extended family as long as that family is reasonably sane. Your partner also needs to make it clear to his extended family that he now has children and they therefore now have more kids to love.
- Loving you means doing hands-on parenting. Working through differences and decisions about how both of you will encourage and discipline the kids is an important part of your courtship. For kids to grow, they need parents who are on the same page at least most of the time. They need the safety of structure and limits, the approval that is the building block of self-esteem, and the clarity of consequences that helps them learn to be responsible. A man who will spend lots of time talking through how to parent as well as whether to parent is a good bet.
When dating, it’s crucial to hold onto the things you strongly believe are non-negotiable. You probably have a top three for yourself. Maybe your priorities include finding someone who practices the same religion, who is financially solvent, or who is interested in whitewater rafting and likes walking in the rain. By all means, find a match. But if you’re a parent, parenting principles like these need to be added near the top of list. A relationship with a man who meets those criteria is a relationship that is likely to last.
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. She writes regularly for Psych Central as well as Psych Central’s Ask the Therapist feature, and has published the insightful parenting e-book, Tending the Family Heart.
Dr. Rosie Milligan
Boys need fathers in their lives. I am making a plea to African-American fathers to be active participants in the lives of their sons; and for African-American women to assist these fathers in the transition of their reentering the lives of their sons.
Most every ill that plagues the Black male child is mostly related to fatherlessness. Having a father as a role model and teacher is critical for a male child. The male who understands this best is the male child whose father was present, and participated, in his life. Unfortunately, for many Black males, they have not had the experience of having a father role model. A male child who did not have his father present can not relate to the critical differences it makes, for he has no comparison to make. Therefore, it becomes easy for him, as an adult, to abandon his son; especially, when it becomes a challenge to be a part of his life.
In addition, I believe that we must revisit history as we examine the family structure of Blacks in America. An absentee father was the norm for the African-American family. Families were separated by force! Slavery severely impacted the lives of the Black family. Considering the fact that our physical exodus from slavery has only been 140 years, that’s not a long time, and we are still experiencing its effects.
Blacks were forced to produce offsprings, not for themselves, but for their master’s economic gain. Today, Blacks are not forced to produce babies; however, because of the residual effect of slavery on the Black family, their offsprings continue to be an economic product for the modern-day master called PRISON. Today, in 2005, Black males in prison are paid less for their labor than they were paid 140 years ago.
Black men were not socialized as other men, that is, to be accountable or responsible for his family. In order to understand why the Black man and Black woman are having such challenges in their relationships, you must understand how their experience and living conditions in America have impacted their lives and the lives of their family.
When a Black family needed assistance from Social Services programs, the father had to remove himself from the family in order for his wife and children to get assistance. Black men have a long way to go to get back to their African roots of being a provider and protector. Black men have come a long way, and they will get back to their God-Created-Nature, with the help of God, Almighty, and with the understanding of their past.
It is the responsibility of the father to help provide for his child. And providing entails more than financial provisions. I’m pleading with women, to not prevent the father from being a part of his son’s life because of the father’s inability to support financially. A male child needs his father in his life, and the woman only hurts her son(s) when she tries to prevent them from having a father-son relationship. The many ills of Black men are inevitably traced to their Fatherlessness.
Most Black men really want to be with their families and children. What they need is someone to be a father-like figure for them. A Black man needs guidance. Most of them are trying to be something or somebody that they have never seen or experienced, and must be taught that. The womans ideal of what a man is supposed to be is distorted because she too has not experience a father in her life.
You see, a father is a role model for his son and a father gives definition to his daughter as to what a man is. A mother is a role model for her daughter and she gives definition to her son as to what a woman is. 70% of Black households are headed and ran by a female with the father most times being totally out of the picture. The sons and daughters are both confused about male/female responsibility.
Many men are not allowed to have relationships with their children. If these men are allowed to participate in their childrens lives, it must be on the woman’s terms only. When it becomes unbearable, he leaves the woman and the child behind. The real victim is the child.
There are some things that a man needs to teach his son, such as: how to bathe and clean his genital area, how to shop for clothing, how to choose his friends, how to respect himself, how to drive an automobile, how to resolve conflicts, how to fight, how to avoid a fight, how to play sports. I am not casting blame on the Black woman. I am only pointing out the facts that are hindering the progress of the Black family. I believe that if we could get a perspective of the Black man, as related to who he was before coming to America and what America has made him become, then we would have a better understanding of our family dynamics and we can embrace each other and begin to value ourselves and our children again.
*Editorial Note* While the above piece cites data from 2005, the essence of the message still remains an unfortunate truth.
Dr. Rosie Milligan, Counselor/Author: Author of Negroes, Colored People, Black, African-Americans in America, Satisfying The Black Man Sexually, Satisfying The Black Woman Sexually and Why Black Men Choose White Women.
For more information from Dr. Rosie you can visit: http://www.Drrosie.com/
I have been married to my husband for one year. We just celebrated our 1st Anniversary, just days ago. The year has been VERY challenging and I’m not sure what I expected, but I never thought that I would be at a point where I am questioning if I should have married him.
My letter would be too long to discuss every detail, however, the current issue has prompted me to get your opinion on our latest challenge:
My husband has shared a medical diagnosis with some friends of his. These are not “our” friends, but “his” friends. I know these people, but I don’t believe I have a relationship, where I would share my medical record with them. However, I asked my husband, who did he share the information with, I said “one person”, than it became “two”. Needless to say, I was furious. Although, the diagnosis, is not life threatening, it is still. NO ONE BUSINESS.
We are working on our trust issues already, but how can I begin to trust my husband, when he continues to do things to violate my trust in him?
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By Aiyana Ma’at
I am becoming. You are becoming. We are all becoming. So many of us women have visions, dreams, goals that we carry around inside of us…..that we quietly work on day in and day out.
But, we don’t always SHARE. We don’t necessarily make it a point to connect with each other and share where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.
This is not good. We miss so much when we don’t take the time to connect and create. Listen in to see what I mean…
Learn more about Jessica and her work at culturekingdomkids.com
You can contact Carolyn via the webpage related to her most recent production: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jph-musical-theatre-project-presents-the-wizard-of-oz-tickets-10560493721
By Minister Mxolisi Ozo-Sowande / (aka Bro. Mxolisi T. Sowell)
As we journey through the month of March, and over 300 organizations around the nation (USA) observe/celebrate Black Marriage Day, some words from Dr. Llaila Afrika (in African Holistic Health, pg. 351) resonate within my soul:
“The female/male relationship is microcosmic of the culture . . . (it) transmits and translates culture . . . (it) is the smallest functional unit of the culture . . . The Black wholistic female/male relationship is for the upliftment of the culture,” with a major function of this relationship being the rearing of children who have what it takes to “advance the culture.”
Dr. Afrika goes on to assert that the positive result of such a dynamic is that “the culture (i.e., village) serves the relationship and the relationship serves the culture. It takes a village to have a marriage . . . it takes African-centeredness to have a holistic African cultural marriage.”
Another voice vibrating within is that of Dr. Molefi Asante (cited in the book, Friends, Lovers and Soul Mates by Drs. Derek and Darlene Hopson, pg. 49): his belief that to be whole, Black people must place African values, culture, and history at the center of their very beings. Asante says, “We have a formidable history, replete with the voice of God, the ancestors, and the prophets. Our manner of dress, behavior, walk, talk, and values are intact and workable when we are Afrocentric.”
Adding to the strength and convictions of those voices is the voice of Dr. Marimba Ani, speaking before the 2011 annual convention of the Association of Black Psychologists, where the following was among her comments: “Culture is the immune system of a race . . . the armor that protects a people against genocide . . . African culture is the unique expression of the African soul. It cultivates, nurtures and cares for the African soul as nothing else can. It makes us part of the global African family. It imparts to us the power of our ancestors. It has got to be the foundation of any educational system that we have . . . We need to rebuild our cultural system!”
If we follow the wisdom and admonition coming to us from ancient Kemet – and other traditions as well, calling on us to open the books that contain the enduring words and practices of our Ancestors, to read and heed the preserved ingredients of our cultural system(s), we would likely understand and agree with Dr. Afrika’s profound expressions: “In an African centered relationship, each person was viewed as a sacred presence of God . . . An individual served God by serving their mate . . . Relationships between Black women and men founded on correctness, justice, harmony, balance, reciprocity, truth, propriety and order (Maat) are African centered . . . (are unions) of God . . . the balance of the spirit, mind and body . . . (are) given to African peoples as another way to serve God.”
We do, indeed, need to rebuild, restore, and renew ourselves according to that cultural system!
The Five Major Initiation Rites of our traditional African way of life provide an excellent foundation for the beginning of this restoration process. These are rites that evolved as our ancestors responded to their collective perceptions of Creator, Ancestors and Prophets speaking to their hearts and souls. They include the rites of Birth, Adulthood, Marriage, Eldership, and Ancestor-ship.
(See Prof. Manu Ampim’s essay on these rites at this link:http://www.manuampim.com/AfricanInitiationRites )
These rites, which continue to be nearly universal in one form or another throughout traditional African life, provide foundation for a way of life that includes this pertinent point of view: That a person is not truly an adult until they have married and had children!
Additionally, this way of life holds that a new life (an infant) is not a complete being until she or he has been thoroughly initiated into the values and principles of the family-community-nation; and that the family-community-nation has an abiding responsibility to provide the necessary environment, training and inspiration to assist each individual in discovering and fulfilling their life mission and unique contribution.
(View my reflections on these Initiation Rites at this link:http://hcvoice.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/reflections-on-the-initiation-rites-of-our-african-way-of-life/)
In simple terms, our African cultural way of life places high priority on preparing and developing men and women who know one another to be a sacred presence of God, who hold marriage in high esteem (who are, indeed, ready for their Black/African Marriage Day), and are eager — along with Ancestors, Elders and others, and every institution of the culture — to fulfill their roles to carry forward and “advance the culture” in and through succeeding generations. Our African cultural way of life absolutely needs Adults of this spirit and character as marriage partners and parents, and in other roles that might be required for the perpetuation of that sacred, inspirational, family-community-nation environment.
The overriding priority of that sacred environment is to inform and inspire each individual relative to his or her potential to manifest Godliness (Maat) not only in marriage but in every circumstance of life. No doubt, something easier said than done.
In ancient Kemet, Maat was understood as the intelligent, creative energy-spirit-power emerging from what can be viewed as a radical, transformative development at the core of the Creator’s being, giving rise to all existence and to the obligation for humans to be diligent in pro-active moral behavior in all things. In The Husia, our ancestors’ perceptions of the Creator’s thoughts/words in that radical, creation moment are expressed thusly: “I formed it from the desire in my heart; I laid the foundation through Maat.” Other translations reflect The Most High saying S/He worked “magic” on Her/His own heart in order to facilitate the birth of Maat and the emergence of creation. Thus, it was understood that the Godly pro-active morality that the humankind is to pursue and practice requires a radical, transformative development at the core of our individual and collective existence, giving birth to an undying desire in our hearts for Maat to be the distinguishing character and driving force in all that we do.
As above, so below. As with Ancestors throughout the spectrum of our traditional African way of life, let it be with you and me.
Marimba Ani has argued that our African culture is “amazingly resilient,” continuing to survive in spite of the most culturally destructive force (u.s./western culture) in history. Perhaps that explains why there are as many successful Black marriages as there are, given the severely anti-African forces – social, educational, economic, political, as well as individualistic concepts of manhood, womanhood, marriage and family – that work against our well-being at all times. She goes on to assert that our solutions will come not only from denying the “European world-view” as a basis for human organization but that there must be a spiritual component in our organizing efforts and in any view of the future that is projected as our goal.
“Our Africanness has existed within us primarily on an unconscious level,” Dr. Ani posits. “But the forces of evil are strong. European colonialism is powerful and the unconscious survival of the African heritage is not enough to subdue it. This survival must be moved to the level of conscious awareness, so that it can be used for political analysis, motivation and commitment. . . . The African world-view revitalized, can again be a life-giving force. It promises ‘eternal life’ to its descendants.” (Let the Circle be Unbroken: Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora, pgs. 50-53)
There are numerous resources to inform and inspire us for the revitalization of our African cultural way, for marriage and all circumstances of life, including:
• Selections from The Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, compiled by Dr. Maulana Karenga – (containing a significant number of admonitions and insights relative to marriage and family, as well as a host of Teachings for character development in general, including The Declarations of Innocence/Negative Confessions)
• Friends, Lovers and Soul Mates: A Guide to Better Relationships Between Black Men and Women, by Derek S. Hopson, Ph. D., and Darlene Powell Hopson, Ph.D. – (featuring a vast spectrum of issues to be considered and discussed in the process of “self-knowledge” and fruitful relationships)
• The Ten Virtues of the Egyptian Mystery System – (Control of your thoughts * Control of your actions * Devotion to purpose * Faith in the ability of The Master to teach you the truth * Faith in your ability to assimilate the truth * Faith in your ability to wield the truth * Freedom from resentment under the experience of persecution * Freedom from resentment under the experience of wrong * Cultivate the ability to distinguish between right and wrong [that which is loved from that which is hated] * Cultivate the ability to distinguish between the real and the unreal [have a sacred sense of values])
• Kwanzaa & the Nguzo Saba: Something Sacred for & from the Souls of Black Folks, by Minister Mxolisi Ozo-Sowande – (for a deeper-than-superficial presentation of the Principles, Symbols and Precepts of this tradition and their potential for serving as a blueprint for the restoration of the souls of Black folks)
Let it be that we open these and other books, with our hearts and souls wide open, to allow a plentiful harvest of radical, transformative moments to occur in great abundance throughout the Global African Family. Let Black Marriage Day, the sacred African way, be the exhilarating, unending norm once again, forevermore!
Ankh, Udja, Seneb!!!
By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses
SISTERS: I anticipate some people will get mad at me for saying this but since I run a blog for women of color which focuses on living “healthy lives” and having “healthy relationships”,this needs to be said and I hope it is received in the spirit in which it is being shared.
If you are extremely overweight and are not making the effort to change that, please stop complaining that you can’t find a man or that you have several health issues.
First of all, a lot of our health issues stem from not eating healthier and exercising. Second of all, I know of no respectable man who wants to be with a woman who does not take care of herself.
Yes, some people have other complex issues; that’s not who I’m talking about.
Make small changes-take a 15 minute walk 3 times a week and build from there….or substitute your rice/potatoes/pastas for a salad. Drink more water etc but please don’t stop after a week or a month and then say “it’s not working”. You have to keep going and never stop until you have re-claimed your body and your health.
Take responsibility for your life and your health-that is what REAL empowerment is.
Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter
By Ayize & Aiyana Ma’at
Hey Fam! We are soooo excited and pleased to announce our new Relationship Renovation series that will be kicking off in January 2014!
As we sat and talked and evaluated how 2013 has been for us and what our goals for 2014 should be we kept coming back to the idea that we want to connect more, help more, and do more. Yes, that’s what we said—In 2014 we want to:
CONNECT MORE…..to you
HELP MORE……for you and
DO MORE……with you 🙂
We said “How can we be the most helpful and make the most impact?” We asked you on Facebook and Twitter and via our other social media platforms and YOU ANSWERED. You said you wanted to talk with us more about very important topics that so many of you are dealing with in your relationships. We received such great feedback and so many different topics that we decided to begin a Bi-Weekly Relationship Renovation Series.
- This is where we will discuss important, juicy, fun, and fundamental issues that are relevant to relationships of all kinds.
- This is where you will have the opportunity to participate! How? You can be “on” with us to share your story or ask a question as it relates to the theme of the Hangout. You can also share by asking questions when we have our “Ask Us Anything”Hangouts. And, of course you can chat with us during the Hangout as well.
- This is where you can come every 2 weeks to “go to school” and get insight and answers on all things relationships!
So, save the date for AYIZE & AIYANA’S FIRST RELATIONSHIP RENOVATION HANGOUT WHERE WE WILL TALK ABOUT HOW TO TURN UP THE LOVE & SEX IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP!
WHEN: THURSDAY, JAN 12, 2014
WHAT TIME: 9PM
For our first Hangout–We’re looking for singles or couples that would like to be featured on the Hangout. You should be willing to either share your story around sex and intimacy and/or ask a question. No questions are off limits. Any issue you have when it comes to sex and intimacy in your relationship(s)–past or present—BRING IT. We want to hear it!
Interested? Send an email with your issue or question to firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here: http://www.blackloveandmarriage.com/ask-the-maats/
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