The Top 10 Blog Posts and or Articles for Black Christian Women in September 2016

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Hello World,

I’m such a media junkie that I often have a difficult time figuring out where I should be directing my attention…Perhaps, I have a bit of ADHD…Last month, I was struck that black people have much to celebrate due to the September opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture  (and if you’re in the Washington D.C. area, this event, Getting to Know the Museum: I, Too, Am America, on Tuesday, sounds like a winner!) and yet there is a ways to go as black people continue to struggle with the police shootings of unarmed black men throughout the country…And then as the nation’s first black president, President Barack Obama, prepares to exit his post and either the nation’s first female president in Hillary Clinton will be at the helm or the hell-raiser, Donald Trump, whom I’m convinced is the unwieldy harvest of seeds sown by Republican obstruction as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid so wisely noted…There are so many issues that are deserving of our attention…

All of that being noted, I’m always taking note of blog posts and or articles that illuminate the path for black Christian women as I am one… So below is my Top 10 monthly roundup of blog posts and or articles for black Christian women ( but you don’t have be a black Christian woman to to check them out:) ! ) As usual, let me know if you like my list! Enjoy and share!

“The Cult of Heather Lindsey: Examining the Rise of the Purity Movement & One of Its Most Magnanimous Leaders” by D. Danyelle

Excerpt:  It’s also not hard to see the physical traits of her biracial genetics. The (biological) daughter of a Mexican-German mother and Black father, her resulting lotto of favorable biracial features is prominent. Outfitted with “light skin and good hair,” she represents the top of the social pecking order for Black women. It is a pecking order that favors lighter hues over darker ones in everything from income and occupation to dating and marriage outcomes.

Certainly, Heather has absolutely no control over her genetic makeup. Heather, while a beautiful woman, possesses a physical appearance that doesn’t represent most Black women. It is not to say that she was chosen solely because of her fair skin, petite figure or standard Eurocentric features. But when dating, she had an advantage that much of her audience does not. An advantage that would have made her more likely to marry than a darker hued woman with or without sexual abstinence. See more at: theunfitchristian.com.

“What Shall We Say to These Things? The Implications of Black Women’s Singleness” by Candice Benbow

Excerpt: I know all too well the implications of singleness for Black women. My mother, 60 and never married, died alone at home. We found her hours later. For the past nine months, I have replayed scenarios of my mother’s final moments if she was married. My stepfather would have been home. He would have been able to call the police. She wouldn’t have been alone. Since she passed, I’ve realized how much my life mirrors hers. I am single and live alone. While at my age she had a daughter, I only have a dog…and I’m seriously considering getting a landline phone and enrolling him in specialty classes to know how to nudge the phone over with his nose and hit a button to call 911 in case of an emergency (yes, those classes exist). I do not talk to someone every day, several times a day like I talked to my mother. That means no one knows my schedule intimately enough to know when I’m off of it and need a check-in. And I’m not the only person who experiences life like this. These implications are real. See more at: candicebenbow.com.

“Involuntary Singleness Too Often Feels Like Punishment” by Mariam Williams

Excerpt: How do you plan to handle potentially lifelong, involuntary celibacy? It’s a question I’ve never had anyone in church leadership or a layperson in a heart-to-heart discussion ask me that directly, because it is never assumed that a heterosexual woman, and even more specifically a heterosexual black woman who is an active church member will be single forever — even though abstinence until marriage is still taught and to some degree expected; even though such black women are still expected and often themselves demand to marry a churchgoing, Christian man; and even though women of all races far outnumber men in churches in all denominations. See more at: ncronline.org.

“Find Out Why These Black Men Won’t Date Black Women” by Veronica Wells

Excerpt: Then 33-year-old Koro said that Black women don’t want him because he’s a God-fearing man, practicing celibacy. He also said that in the church, if you don’t have a collar, the women don’t want to talk to him. That story was so odd, all I could wonder was what church he goes to. Because I know good and well how many church women are also on a celibacy journey trying to achieve their spiritual goals. If Koro had any type of decency, Black women would be about that life. See more at: madamenoire.com.

“Why Voluptuous is Applauded Everywhere…Except School and Church, Apparently” by Kimberly Peeler-Ringer

Excerpt: “You’re too big for that.” This is the subtle shaming background music with lyrics for big black girls everywhere. And that word ‘big’ is loaded all by itself: big as in taller, big as in wider, big as in curvier…and heaven help you if you possess all three, which is exactly my testimony. I am 5’10.” I am not petite, I am brown-skinned. I am curvy, and both my dress and shoe sizes are larger than a size 8.

So when I saw photos of this Atlanta fourth grade teacher all over my social media platforms, and all the negative comments on repeat that exclaimed “that is inappropriate,” “teachers should dress modestly” and of course, the old standby, “she’s too big for that,” I knew I had to say something on behalf of curve-shamed sistas everywhere. See more at: thechurchedfeminist.com.

“50 Years Later, Why Are Black Churches Still Under Attack?” by Courtney Hall Lee

Excerpt: But just because a church is full of Christians doesn’t mean it isn’t full of flawed people. My podcast partner Karen recently said that some Christians diminish the existence of systemic racism by saying, “There is no black and no white, there are just people and sin.” I agree that race is a construct and that hate is a sin. But I believe that willful ignorance is also a sin, and it is the willful ignorance of the systemic racism in our country that is indeed sinful. This willful blindness is where the church failed both the four little girls and the Charleston Nine. See more at: sojo.net.

“Donald Trump Didn’t Keep His Word in Flint, Pastor Says” by Asawin Suebsaeng

Excerpt: Rev. Faith Green Timmons made herself Donald Trump’s latest public enemy in just 20 words. The Flint, Michigan, pastor and her church, Bethel United Methodist Church, had invited the Republican presidential nominee to speak Wednesday about the city’s water crisis, and efforts to combat it. When Trump began attacking Hillary Clinton from the pulpit (“Everything she touched didn’t work out”), Timmons intervened. See more at: thedailybeast.com.

“At Congressional Black Caucus Panel, Rep. Fudge Says, ‘If You Do Dot Vote, You Are Just Selfish.’ “by Vanessa Williams

Excerpt: Melanie Campbell, president of the Black Women’s Roundtable, recounted a conversation she had with a black man at the barber shop. Referring to Clinton, he said, “Miss Melanie, I can’t vote for her.” She said she “broke it down to him, in explicit terms” what was at stake if Trump won the election. “He said, ‘All right, Miss Melanie, I got you.’” See more at: washingtonpost.com.

“Black Priest Walks in ‘slave’ Chains to Promote Remembrance” 

Excerpt: One of the first black women to be ordained in the Church of England has called for a national day of remembrance for slavery. The Reverend Canon Eve Pitts of Holy Trinity Church, Birchfield, Birmingham, said she wrapped herself in chains and walked around her church to remind herself of her ancestors’ suffering. See more at: bbc.com.

“Remembering Carrie Collins, Littleton Teacher and Figure in Colorado Black Music Community” by Joe Rubino

Excerpt: If you went to elementary school in Littleton between 1965 and 1986, there is chance Carrie Collins was your music teacher. But Collins’ work as the first African-American woman ever hired as a vocal music teacher instructor in a suburban Denver school district is only part of her story and the impact she made on Colorado and the country. See more at: denverpost.com.

If you know of any black Christian women bloggers and or writers, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com as I’m always interested in expanding my community of black Christian women blogs and websites. As I noted before, while this is a roundup of interesting blog posts and or articles for black Christian women, you don’t have to be one to appreciate these pieces :).

Any thoughts?

 

Mary Mary Background Singer TaMyya J Comes to the Foreground With New Single “God’s Got My Back!”

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Hello World,

I’ve always said that I love all kinds of music from rap to gospel, but gospel music is the only music that can get you through when you’re going through! Y’all know what I mean! That’s why I’m pleased to introduce an exciting up and coming gospel singer TaMyya J to y’all! Her new single “God’s Got My Back” is truly an inspirational song. Below is a some information about TaMyya J followed by my interview with her!

For TaMyya J it all began in her childhood hometown of Willingboro, New Jersey. Singing in church became a regular part of her life at an early age. It wasn’t until 1998, at the age of 14, when TaMyya’s introduction to the professional music industry would solidify her career choice and inspire a dream.  Her group “Praise” won the 1st place prize for the Youth Division at the McDonald’s Gospelfest at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Since that time, she has ministered in song at events throughout the world and has built a well-rounded career in entertainment over the past decade. Her critically acclaimed independent album in 2005 entitled SUDDENLY even earned her a nomination for the Gospel Music Channel’s “Pop Video of the Year” Award.

In 2005, 2006 and 2007, TaMyya was selected by Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a division of Johnson & Johnson Publishing Company, (publishers of EBONY and JET magazines) to kick-off their spring cosmetic campaign by offering three songs from her album as a gift to their customers and by appearing at major departments stores across the country.

In 2007 she performed in the hit stage play “Who Do You Love” starring Erica Campbell (Mary Mary). In addition, TaMyya has spent the last six years traveling as the soprano background vocalist for mega gospel duo Mary Mary.

1.What inspired your new single “God’s Got My Back?”  I really like the message of feeling your not enough – whether it’s pretty enough, thin enough, etc. and then realizing with God, you are wise enough, strong enough, etc. Did you write this song?

Well, I was just at a place where I just felt like nothing was going my way, nothing that I planned to do or wanted to do. It just wasn’t happening. I got to a place where I was like, ‘Lord, I don’t know. Is it me? Is it that I’m not strong enough? I’m not pretty enough? I’m not good enough?’ And I heard the Lord clearly say that His timing is way better than my timing or our timing so that really inspired me to do this song. I wrote the song with Damon Stewart from IGA Talent. I came to him with my concept of the song, and we just came together and this is how it came out.

concert2. “God’s Got My Back” was released this month, and it is from your new album “Love For Your Name.” When will the album be released and tell me about it?

The album will be released early next year. We have a lot of different kinds of tracks on this album. We have reggae songs, worship songs, a little bit of gospel urban feel, and a little bit of pop feel too. I wanted to go in that direction because I didn’t want to be put in a box where I was in this one genre of music. And I have a DVD release coming too early next year, and we will be recording it at my concert on October 14 in Norfolk, Virginia. We have a lot of special guests – Jonathan Nelson, Goo Goo Atkins, the celebrity stylist; Resound, just to name a few. And then it’s my birthday month so I’m really excited about it!

3. You spent the last six years traveling as the soprano background vocalist for Mary Mary. What was that like and how did that happen?

That was the best experience ever! It was amazing! I learned a lot from them, and it was so much fun. I was actually working at a law firm in Philadelphia. I had just taken the job and was making good money at that time. And all of a sudden, I had the opportunity to sing for them. I saw them at a concert, and one of the drummers who played with them knew that I was a singer. The drummer said, ‘Oh, you have to hear TaMyyya sing.’ So they were singing a song, and they just handed me the mic. Tina Campbell handed me the mic, and I was like, ‘Oh, no, I’m so nervous.’ But I sang and from then on, it was like, ‘You’re going to be our background singer.’  I said, ‘Okay!’ I was just at the right place at the right time!

4. I understand that you, as a 14-year-old girl, along with your group “Praise,” won the 1st place prize for the Youth Division at the McDonald’s Gospelfest at Madison Square Garden in NYC. What was it like to perform at Madison Square Garden at 14 years old?

We were so excited and nervous and happy at the same time! Being that young, at 14, it’s like, ‘Wow!’ When we first won the first portion of the contest, it was like, ‘Wow, okay!’ And then we won the next part and we were like, ‘Wow, okay!’ We were like, ‘We’re going to have the chance to sing at Madison Square Garden!” It was an amazing experience, and we were very grateful and humbled. And then we got to perform on the stage with the top gospel artists Karen Clark Sheard, Timothy Wright, just to name a few. It was wonderful! It was the best experience ever!

5. What do you feel is God’s purpose for your music especially since you’ve been singing you were a little girl?

I believe that God’s purpose for my music is to enlighten and encourage and to also let Him get the glory and reach others for Him. This is a gift that He blessed me with so I believe that it will bless others.

6. Some may compare you to Tasha Cobbs or Kierra Sheard or a host of other younger gospel artists about there? What sets you and your music apart?

Well, being compared to them, you know I love them! I think that’s great! I think with all of us our main goal is to serve God and serve people who listen to our music. I love what they do! It’s evident in their music and their ministry so being compared to them is awesome.

7. Tell me about your involvement with House of Esther Ministries?

This is a ministry based out of my church Calvary Revival Church in Norfolk, Virginia with Bishop Courtney McBath and Pastor Janeen McBath. What Pastor Janeen did is she created this housing for young moms or just young people who cannot provide for themselves or it’s very hard for them to get through school. So she provided a home for these young ladies and is helping them to get the education they need to get good jobs. It’s a great program for young ladies, and I just love being a part of that whether I’m giving clothes or money or whatever is needed.

Check out TaMyya J’s new single “God’s Got My Back” below!

TaMyya J’s music is available at all digital outlets!

Any thoughts?

7 Lessons We Can Learn About Life, Love & Creativity from the Life & Death of Prince…

afro prince

Hello World,

It’s been 21 hours and six days since Prince’s life slipped away from this earthly realm, and I doubt anyone will ever compare to him….I was off from work and running the last few steps of my four-mile run when a deejay broke into a song to say that various news outlets were reporting that Prince had died…I scurried to my car and sped to my house to get on my laptop to confirm if what I heard was true…I was stunned when it was confirmed that this horrible news was true…And ever since then, I’ve been compulsively watching various interviews with him and programs about his life, catching snippets of “Purple Rain” (I can’t seem to catch the whole movie), reading articles written by those who knew him and marveling that my generation’s Beethoven has made his transition…

I don’t profess to be a super fan of Prince although I’m certainly a fan…But still I’m somewhat surprised that his death has dominated my thoughts since I heard the news…I think it’s because his death is the third of three artists who redefined music: Michael, Whitney and now Prince…Their last names aren’t even needed because they reached icon status with their contributions to music and their music has been a mainstay in my life for as long as I can remember…But since this post is about Prince, I won’t delve anymore into Michael and Whitney for now…

I think we can learn from anyone whether emulating that person’s successes or avoiding that person’s mistakes. And in thinking about Prince’s life, there many lessons we can learn…Below are my Top 7…

1. Prince taught us to use all of our talents up and not be afraid of exploring new talents(Creativity)…What I respect the most about Prince’s life is that his creativity knew no bounds. He played various instruments used in and wrote the music and lyrics to many of his songs. He was so prolific that apparently he has a vault filled with music that very few people have heard yet. He explored colors and designs so much so that he is known for his love of purple and the paisley design. Although he had never made nor acted in a movie before and “Purple Rain” didn’t have the support of major studios, he demanded that “Purple Rain” be made according to his former manager Joseph Ruffalo. In a recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, he said, “Now, what kind of a guy was Prince? Like, when Prince said that, ‘We were shooting thanksgiving,’ it meant we better start shooting thanksgiving. And that started a process to make a movie outside the studio system. And, in fact, we did it independently.” His development of his talents reminds me of “The Parable of the Talents” in which three people were given talents by their master and were expected to develop them in his absence. When the master came back, two of the three had developed their talents and added more talents to the initial ones they were given, but one was too scared to develop his one talent (and probably mad that others had more than he did) and ended up being punished for wasting his talent. I know I don’t have the talent that Prince had, but I hope I’m never scared to develop and add to what I do have….

2. Prince taught us that we don’t have to broadcast our philanthropy(Life)…So I never knew how much Prince supported various organizations and causes over the course of his life until Don Lemon’s interview with Van Jones, a friend of Prince…. According to Jones, he helped to create organizations such as #YesWeCode, “a national initiative to help 100,000 young women and men from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector” and anonymously paid for people in Oakland, California to have solar panels on their home. According to Jones, Prince was prevented from speaking about his philanthropic efforts in public because he was a Jehovah’s Witness, but Prince was so private (outside of his music) I doubt he would have said anything anyway. Prince’s approach was the opposite of the Pharisee in “The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector” who exalted himself because of his good works while God admired the approach of the tax collector who was humble.

3. Prince taught us the components of a truly good love (and sexy) love song(Love)… So in the days since Prince’s death, I’ve been trying to break down what made Prince’s love songs (my favorite of his songs) so doggone everythang…I’m thinking it’s because they were so sensory…you could hear, see, touch, smell, and taste his love songs…Here is an excerpt to “When 2 R In Love”: “Come bathe with me. Let’s drown each other in each others emotions. Bathe with me. Let’s cover each other with perfume and lotion. Bathe with me. Let me touch your body ’til your river’s an ocean. Bathe with me. Let’s kiss with one synonymous notion. That nothing’s forbidden and nothing’s taboo…when the 2 R in love.” The words of Song of Solomon have a similar effect…”Your stature is like a palm tree. And your breasts are like its clusters. ‘I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’ Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, And the fragrance of your breath like apples. And your mouth like the best wine!’ ‘It goes down smoothly for my beloved. Flowing gently through the lips of those who fall asleep.”

Feast on this song for yourself…

4. Prince taught us to preserve the sexy…While we are talking about sexy…(Life)…Getting older is no excuse to let yourself stop, drop and roll to speak…I know Prince was a man and men do have an easier time of maintaining their weight in my experience, but doggone if that man didn’t maintain his slim hips till the very end! And his hair…chile…was always a top priority…so much so that he kept his do-rag on in the rain when he performed at the Super Bowl…Folks laugh at me because I have locs but I run with a do-rag on…My do will be maintained, okay…Prince demonstrated that Psalm 139:14 is true…”I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works (me and you) are wonderful. I know that full well.”

5. Prince taught us to support other artists…(Creativity)…Prince was The Artist, but he lavishly supported the artistry of others as well…Sheila E., The Bangles, Sinead O’Connor, Morris Day & The Time, Chaka Khan, etc. are just a few of the artists who have been associated with him…And his giving to others enlarged his own legacy like what is demonstrated in Luke 6:38. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

6. Prince taught us that being young is not a reason to not explore your talents…(Creativity)…This lesson is for my younger artists out there…I’ve wanted to be writer since I was six years old, but in those early years, I wondered if I really had anything to offer…I found this post on thatericalper.com in which Prince, as a teenager, was interviewed by his high school newspaper and his focus was apparent even back then…The article was titled “Nelson Finds It “Hard To Become Known.” Here is an excerpt: “Prince was born in Minneapolis. When asked, he said, ‘I was born here, unfortunately.’ Why? ‘I think it is very hard for a band to make it in this state, even if they’re good. Mainly because there aren’t any big record companies or studios in this state. I really feel that if we would have lived in Los Angeles or New York or some other big city, we would have gotten over by now.’ Although he had confidence in himself, he did doubt that he would be discovered…But obviously, he persevered and we all know what happened…It even says in the Bible in 1 Timothy 4:12, don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…

symbol7. Prince taught us not to be afraid to stand up for yourself and know your worth…(Creativity, Life, Love)Prince’s battle against the record industry has been well documented over the years so I won’t rehash it here…I mean he was known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince for years behind trying to get the rights back to his music…And before he died, he secured ownership of his music publishing…His taking on the music industry is the ultimate David and Goliath story…

I’m sure that many other lessons can be gleaned from the life of Prince Rogers Nelson, but these are uppermost in my mind…what have you learned from the life and death of Prince?

Rest in Purple Prince…

Any thoughts?