Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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I Am All of Them, They Are All of Me: Viewing Straight Outta’ Compton in Its Proper Context

Fr left to right: Ice Cube, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre, O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), Jason Mitchell (Eazy E), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre) 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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Why Am I So Hated In My Own Country?

Why am I so hated in my own country? | Yes, We Rise

What is it about being black in America that makes us so hated? 

The past couple of weeks have been, for me, extremely draining emotionally. The tragic deaths of the #Emanuel9 and the subsequent arguments about the confederate flag have reminded me that so many of the citizens of this country are willfully ignorant about the history of slavery in this country.

They're not just uninformed. Being ignorant because you haven't been exposed to the truth is a sad thing but a fixable one. You just have to want to learn and then seek to find out things and accept what you learn. But willful ignorance? That is a horse of an entirely different color. That is a level of obstinance that says, "I don't care what you say, the truth is only what I know it to be."

Reading the tweets of a former plantation museum tour guide brought a tear to my eye. I used to believe that I understood why racism existed. On some levels, I guess that I do. Some people need to hold on to their feelings of superiority at any cost. However, as a person who is a part of the disadvantaged class, I find myself wondering "why is this happening?" far too often now. What exactly is it about black people in America that makes us so hated, so vilified, so dangerous to so many people? Especially to people who do not even know much about us at all?

Emanuel9 | Yes, We Rise
The tragedy of their deaths will haunt this nation
for many years. 

I've been particularly drawn to questioning the emotional and mental gymnastics that it seems a lot of people utilize to protect and absolve white people from the horrendous acts that have been and are leveled against people of color. Why are so many people absolutely determined to protect white people at all costs, to the point of working really hard to make white people the victims even when they are the perpetrators of crimes against black people? How is this possible?

Someone far brighter than myself probably has answered these questions and can explain this mindset. I don't know. All I know is that these tweets... brought a tear to my eye.

I am so very exhausted with being the enemy of people I don't know because of my skin and my heritage. I'm not sure what it will take to move us beyond this. I am sure that I am exhausted with trying to convince others of my humanity.

**Nic McLean**

Please read this Vox article: What I Learned From Leading Tours About Slavery On A Plantation
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Monday, June 22, 2015

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Culture In Crisis

Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.
Nelson Mandela

We are living in profoundly troubling times. An entire swath of our citizenry is being hunted as if they were wild game. Innocent lives are being snuffed out and cut short. Cultures and identities are being misappropriated and perversions are being mainstreamed. It leaves one to ask, "What The HELL is going on?"

Without friends and family to contextually ground us and provide us a frame reference, we are all but a few 30-second news clips from believing that we have lost our minds. The depravity and sheer disregard for humankind is surreal in its continuous assault on our senses. One has but to wake up to find yourself face to face with what can only be described as the societal dung pile of HATE, VIOLENCE and STUPIDITY. It's just too much.

In my lifetime...I have been not nice, unpleasant, disrespectful, rude....but my conscience has never let me stay in that place. The dis-ease that plagues my spirit when I allow negativity to dominate, is far more than my mind and body can take. I feel physical pain...sadness...disconnectedness ...yearning, when I allow myself to give-in to the lesser parts of my being. I lack far more than I gain  in stooping low, so I made a decision to do my best to not go to that place. I made a choice to try my best to rise above and call forth my higher-self, the person that I was created to be. I've chosen humanity.

In choosing humanity, my brain (read my ego) is often found in direct contradiction to my heart and spirit. Where my mind says, I heart says I can't. When I want to decry and spirit says pray. There is no logical explanation for so many of the travesties that have divided and diminished our society in recent weeks.  While I could speechify for hours about how family training, psychological challenges and maniacal indifference have left too many people injured and broken, I just can't anymore. People are hurt...broken...sick. We have got to look beyond external factors and surface analytics. Skin status (or lack thereof) are irrelevant.

We have got to start looking beyond. Politics, religion, sexual preference, skin the grave, we all are but dust. Education, marital status, income bracket...without love, we are all alone. Jobs, homes, cars, clothes...things...none of it really truly matters, if we cannot look another soul in the eye and recognize that they are alive. The lenses through which we view each other, should reflect that which we value most. If we value love, we should see love (not as we prefer, but as it is offered). If we value peace, we should see peace and want peace for everyone. Hate, disgust and divisiveness have gotten us nowhere.

When negativity is projected in such extreme and dynamic ways as mass murder, human trafficking, extreme bias or depraved indifference, its our natural inclination to reflect the same. But where has that gotten us? When compelled to respond, let us not look to meet and match its destructive intent. Set the goal for yourself to match the intention with a more powerful and dynamic response. If you want to change the world, change your mindset. Don't be another victim, stop the assault on our culture. Choose to rise above. Choose to be an agent for positive change. Don't let hatred...bigotry...bias...violence win. Choose to live human.

Peace, Joy and Love,
Michelle Hudgins

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Monday, June 15, 2015

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TRUTH...Let It Set You Free

Truth...Let it set you free, Michelle Hudgins | Yes, We Rise

Somewhere in the Litany of Life Lessons, there's a great big typo. Where it reads "..and pretend life is always well and the struggle isn't real," scratch through all of that! Life is hard. In fact, sometimes "ish" stacks up for several days/weeks/months in  a row as one unifying attack force with one singular mission, to seek and destroy your life. It is the epitome of a's a's sometimes downright impossible...and very real. The expectation is that we are just supposed to "soldier" along, not complain and keep it all bottled up inside. This is faulty thinking at best.

Consider that there are at least 7.125 billion people in the world. Do you really think that with all those of people on this little planet we're alone in struggle and shortcomings? Does it make sense that we should be suffering in solitude and silence considering how many other folks inhabit this thing we call Earth?  Let me help you out, the answer is NO!

Living your truth, being honest with yourself and your circle about your actually quite liberating. When you are able to be authentic with who you are...what you you feel, you take away the power those negative things have over you. Their impact lessens, and as they shrink in power your own power increases and you regain control. When you own who you are, there's no room for anyone else's stuff either. That is not say that you are not responsible to other people, because you are...but your responsibility does not require that you take their "ish" too. It simply requires that you help and be a blessing where and when you can.

When you are able to live your truth, other people see it. You have a peace about you that others find magnetic. They want to know what you are doing and begin to seek your advice and counsel about their own lives. By sharing what worked for you, someone else may find their own solutions.

Truth-Living Sets You Free. When you own who you are, faults and all, your mind is much less clouded. Your good days, begin to outweigh your bad days and you begin to attract those things, people and resources that support you and who you are. If you want change, you have to change your mind. You have to stop living for other people...stop denying who you are...stop allowing other people to determine your attitude and your altitude. honest. Speak up. Make decisions that serve you. Honor your heart. Let go of people and things that bring you down.  Do what you want to do. Claim that space that is uniquely your. Pursue your passion....BE FREE!

 Let that be your new litany.

Peace, Joy and Love,
Michelle Hudgins

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Monday, June 8, 2015

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Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid: How YouTube Made My Pockets Empty


Don’t ask me why this just dawned on me a couple of months ago, but YouTube is a GREAT advertiser, amazing even. I am an avid watcher of YouTube, and I subscribe to a few channels, mostly makeup and wigs, but I do also watch a couple of YT (YouTube) shows like The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Here is the creator’s Issa Rae YT channel,

In recent years I did not watch YT as much because I was out of work. I finally figured out why I stopped watching. I watch YT and I want to BUY, the crap they talk about on there. It is my go to on new beauty products, wigs, etc. I race over to YT and see what my favorite YT person has to say on xyz item. And then at the end of April 2015, I was looking for a new planner. I realized that I needed to write things down and not just have them in my phone. I ran across a YT video from Tiffany, a Makeup Artist who just had a baby, and she was talking about her planner and the matching address book she bought. I sat there like OOOOH YASSS!!! I want one of those. So of course I clicked on the link, found the one I wanted, searched for a coupon and bought it. NOW after that I researched this overpriced planner, and found out that planners and basically scrap-booking in your planner is some new hobby.

   Man these women have stickers and washi tape and all other kinds of cute, girlie things to these planners. The one I bought is just one kind, there are 50-11 out there. Don’t worry I will be doing a blog post on the planner.

But back to YouTube, it is an amazing advertising tool, and I know I am slow to the show, so I know that companies have figured this out, hence sending those who have a lot of follower’s free stuff for them to say they love it and have folks buy because they trust them.

Now normally I don’t buy off of what one person’s says, although I did this time, I figured it was a planner if I didn’t like it I get a new one in 6 months any way. But with African Americans being one of the largest consumer groups out there, I am a bit concerned with how easy we are accessed on a medium we “trust” and use for entertainment. I would strongly suggest that we research before blindly going off and buying the hottest new thing, find out if it is worth the price and worth our time and effort. Also if you are following Youtube “Gurus” who just LOVE everything free they receive, maybe you should question their love or unsubscribe.

I love Youtube and it has a WEALTH of information, but I was a bit disturbed when I realized how easy it was for me to see something and buy it. How advertisements and what a “Guru” says on Youtube can be taken as gospel.


Yes that statement was hood, but it is true. We are very quick to fall for the okie doke, we need to be smarter with our buying power, and that includes me as well.

So next time you are watching something funny on YT like Funk Dineva *LOVE HIM OMG, but he is not for the faint of heart* pay attention if it is a long winded commercial for the hottest new product.

Don’t Drink the Kool Aid….

BTW what are some of your favorite YouTube Channels?

Until Next Time

Love Peace and all Things Pretty

~The Diva V~

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Published 9:30 AM by with 4 comments

The 3 Things You Learn When You Step Outside of Yourself

So....I recently had the opportunity to facilitate two training sessions with about 100+ people. While it was my intention  to just go in, go through my PowerPoint and spend the rest of the weekend in my hotel room relaxing and catching up on some reading and writing. Of course, I don't have to tell you, the weekend didn't go quite that way.  Pretty early on, things went left.

In the past, I would have pitched a complete and utter fit, blasting any and every one who failed to do their job, leading to my point of inconvenience. "You need my help?" "That is not what I came here to do!"  I don't know if it was the balmy 70 degree weather, lack of sleep and the inability to fight or just maturity... but as more and more requests for help came, I simply saw each "situation" as an opportunity.  Instead of seeing the inconvenience, I just saw each person in their need and my ability to help.  I ended up being so grateful for my skills and abilities and the recognition of my personal growth. I also learned a few things, and I wouldn't be me if I didn't here it goes.

The 3 Things You learn when You Step Outside of Yourself:

1. Your ability to be a blessing to others is only surpassed by the blessing you receive by willing to be one in the first place -- people have alot of stuff going on, when you can help you should help...and don't make it a big production.

2. Stepping out of self also means stepping out of stress -- when we put down our mess, we put down the stress that goes with it. When you are focused on the task(s) presented for your handling, it generally consumes -- if only for a few minutes, leaving little room in your head or time on your hands to worry about anything else.

3. Some things just aren't that serious -- I am a firm believer that the world will and can stop if I have just the right issue or concern. Fortunately for you and me, I am alone in this opinion. There are folks that have issues far greater than mine and I cannot be consumed with my own "shiggity" that I can't see that others have it too. More importantly, I cannot be so distracted with mine that I cant help somebody else.

There you go...that's it...go forth and be a blessing!

Peace, Joy & Love,
Michelle H.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

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I was born in 1969, growing up in the 70's and 80's, my generation fell into a unique pocket in history, where we saw the end of one period in history and the advent of another. Many would say that we were the direct beneficiaries of the civil rights movement. Told that we could do anything that want, go anywhere we want and be anyone we wanted to's no surprise that "we" have bucked more traditions, trounced out new trails and decried brand new anthems of independence and freedom. We have more access than ever before and greater opportunities. That is not to say we are blind to the issue that remain, but our  non-conformist ways have left folks asking, "what happened?" "With the continued assassination of black males where is our Martin Luther King, Jr.?"  "As congress attempts to turn back the clock on policies and law that unequally target communities of color, who will speak for us?"

The film SELMA gave us a peek behind the curtain into some of what we know happened during the protracted campaign to gain equal rights for minority citizens in America.  While no singular film or story will ever be able to capture the totality of the efforts, we saw in the film some important highlights leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In addition to learning about our rich, historical past, the film also yields  immensely powerful lessons for a generation looking for a leader.


In the film, we saw people of various cultures and walks of life come together on one accord. They were not all black, nor white, young nor old, they were a diversified cross-section of our society. That so many people from so many different walks of life could see the importance of what was happening is incredible. However, as I watched, I couldn't help but marvel at how despite the number of  non-blacks saw the need for change,  there were just throngs of others who were just decidedly hostile and angry at the notion of equal rights. Surely, even if you cannot see the side of another HUE-MAN you should be able to at least see that of your own brother and sister.  Shouldn't that spark something? Even today, I marvel at how people, who have considerably less than others and are essentially in the same boat as their darker or differently hued neighbors, vote to support efforts that keep them down as well, all in the name of politics and pride. Hate, intolerance, and even indifference will always be the shortcoming of any society that fails to SEE or acknowledge their fellow man.  We need leaders that are able to recognize the need to see beyond the color of our skin, challenge limits and work across borders and aisles.


While there were many important groups and organizations working to equalize the playing field for people of color, it wasn't until everyone understood and saw the need for a collective act, that folks started paying real attention. It's one thing to be on the radar, but it's another to be the target.  The clear and deliberate acts, made the president, the governor and everybody else pay attention. When we operate from different song sheets, our message gets diluted. Even if our agendas are not exactly the same, are we not stronger together? What can we agree upon and how can we work on those things together. Perhaps we can knock out everyone's list of needs if we worked together better and identified specifically and clearly what we need. Leaders worth their weight in salt or gold will work to identify a universal agenda that serves all and prioritizes the greatest needs. When we all start playing from the song sheet, its an amazing sound that cannot be ignored.


Politics makes strange bedfellows. The ability to operate at all levels, amongst all types should not be considered a weakness or character flaw. The world is a dynamic and diverse place, to be comfortable in it, we must embrace other cultures, different schools of thought and ideologies, if only to understand ours better. The ability to navigate the halls of the White House and the pool hall is an asset. To have the ear of influencers and decision-makers and be respected for a unique, position is truly the sign of successful leadership.

Let's not let it be another 50 Years...

Peace, Joy & Love,
Michelle H.

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