I was grateful to be able to talk to my mother on Mother’s Day (yesterday), but some people no longer have their mother physically with them due to various health challenges and tragedies. In the past I’ve talked about my mother’s unplanned open heart surgery, the stress of depression (including why the stigma against therapy hurts the black community), and the recent murder of my stepson’s mother.
I know quite a few people who have recently lost their parents, Nanas and friends. I know it’s hard. A year ago, one of my favorite aunts was in a coma. This year I lost one of my friends who was just 30 years old. One of my best friends lost her father this year, and another best friend of mine’s husband had a heart attack–also in his 30s. Still another friend of mine has a little baby in the hospital right now who just had heart surgery.
We all know that this life is temporary. Let’s focus on the things that matter. Make memories that will last. Tell the people that you care about how you feel about them. Now.
The spirit of your loved ones is still here, and so are you. Hold on.
I remember how I felt when Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. It wasn’t much different when Whitney Houston left this earth on February 11, 2012. Even though I am just a fan of theirs and grew up with their music like so many of us, it hurt my heart to find out not only that they each died at a relatively young age, but also the circumstances of their deaths. On the day after MJ’s passing, I reached out to many friends I haven’t heard from in years. And one might think that I would do the same with Whitney’s death– start to reach out to people who I haven’t talked to in a while and just reconnect. I often go through my phone and call folks during New Years week, but I was caught up in my book release to-do list and didn’t get to everyone.
For some reason, although it crossed my mind to call my friend Chris, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in June 2011–or hit him up on Facebook– I didn’t. But oh how I wish I did. Continue reading
Oscar-nominated, Grammy-award-winning actress and hip hop royalty Queen Latifah just released her second self-help book, Put On Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom, last month (Ladies First was her first book, with Karen Hunter). In it, the first hip hop artist on the Walk of Fame takes just under 200 pages to discuss her career strides and life lessons as “a series of moments.” I’ll highlight just a few here, but I have indicated a few spoiler alerts along the way. If you don’t want to know too much detail, skip the rest of those paragraphs where noted and go to the next.
Latifah has been rhyming about empowerment since she was a teenager (“Ladies First”) and one of my favorite anthems from her is 1993’s “U.N.I.T.Y.” She even starred in and sung the theme song to the TV show Living Single (a precursor to NBC’s Friends). She released a new album this year called Persona, but the only song I’ve heard from it is the one she performed on The Mo’Nique Show recently—I’m not hearing the urban stations showing it any love. But I’ve always liked her and respected her for her classy, positive image. If you follow this blog, you also know that I love her perfume, too!
But I digress—back to the book.
I read Put On Your Crown in a few hours, and enjoyed its conversational tone and simplistic chapter titles (e.g., “Beauty,” “Money,” “ Joy”). Latifah covers several topics, such as paying attention to your finances (SPOILER ALERT #1) Latifah went broke 10 years ago because she didn’t pay attention to bookkeeping). This story reminded me of when MC Hammer went bankrupt for “helping” so many people at the height of his “You Can’t Touch This”-ness (I think was coming from a good place, and Latifah echoed similar feelings about putting her crew on and supporting more people than she should have.)
Another year, after her parents separated, her family downsized and temporarily moved to the projects. (SPOILER ALERT #2) It was disheartening to read how her family’s things—everything—was stolen in broad daylight. And on Christmas Eve of that same year, all the presents that her mother worked 3 jobs to pay for were stolen from the trunk of her car. And unfortunately, material possessions and coping as a child of divorce were not the only losses she had to deal with.