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Remembering Karyn: For Brown Girls Everywhere


The blog titles on tumblr, can range from edgy and flamboyant to outright explicit, and the content is sure to follow. When I found For Brown Girls on tumblr I knew I had came across something special, not just on a natural level, but on some deeply cosmic, spiritual wave that transcended the confines of the internet. For Brown Girls was a movement living in my soul and Karyn Washington had manifested it into everything I could have ever dreamed. It didn’t matter that it was after 1’o clock in the morning. I didn’t hesitate to track For Brown Girls down on every social media account that it was active and let them know what it meant to me to have that kind of space and encouragement on the web.  As I followed, “them” turned out to be Karyn…and we connected.



Correspondence and digital smiley faces transferred like nothing through E-mails, Facebook and Twitter, We we’re “friends”. It was easy. We got each other. I fell in line with regularly posting for FBG. Our genius seemed to be in synch, because the topics Karyn conceived for FBG were exactly what I wanted to write about. I raved about the brilliance of Tika Sumpter in the “Chocolate Spotted” series, and reflected on the depth of lyrics from artists like Keke Palmer, Lauryn Hill, and Erykah Badu in “Motivational Melody” pieces. Karyn was the first to publish my rant about black women no longer being aliens before Blogher picked it up. The Gabrielle Impact highlighted the positive support for Gabby Douglas in the “hair” nonsense and celebrated the rise of Black women in American Society. Karyn reblogged a similar post of mine on tumblr through FBG and it became a hit! Even though I won a contest with it, I never will forget what it felt like, to feel like my voice was getting out to the masses. Karyn…through FBG, made me feel celebrated on so many levels.



Karyn not only helped me she helped a community of women, by providing a community for women…Brown women. In the beginning when the For Brown Girls movement was catching on and gaining more notoriety, FBG re-tweeted appreciation tweets from women and girls alike, there were a lot! For so many women it was a source of hope and motivation, and in the end, courage. The thought that Karyn took her life to me is so unthinkable, that honestly I still don’t believe it. She was MY friend, so full of inspiration and intellect. I find it hard to believe that she did it, but for the same reason I can’t believe, I consider the culprit: Intellect. Somewhere in the entanglement of the internet and the wealth of information, geniuses are susceptible to madness. I avoided reading all posts about Karyn until I could fully express how I felt, but in the process thought back to Newsweek‘s cover story that covered the fate of Jason Russell and the effects of the internet on our brain.

The risk of  i-Disorder is especially high for bloggers and content creators. Working in new media can give us a sense of having to stay “connected” all the time, running the risk of real mental health issues. Seems the world wide web is now buzzing about the importance of mental health, but, my main concern is: How was her support system? That was a goal, and a value that Karyn truly expressed through FBG. The nature of For Brown Girls was to truly build a support system. To quote Dr. Maya Angelou: “Nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.”, a truth that knows no race, no color. In the very sense that Karyn was just a social media acquaintance, I didn’t know exactly how to feel when I heard the news. For a few seconds I cried real tears, and wanted to bury myself in pain, but something in the great impact that Karyn’s life made wouldn’t let me. Karyn had determination, and she had grit, the things I most admired about her. I just knew that one day we would meet in person and become the best of friends, but I’m all the more grateful our souls got to meet, even if it was through the web.


The very last e-mail I got to share with Karyn was a piece I wrote wanting to share with Brown Girls that the play “Da Kink In My Hair” by Trey Anthony had made it’s U.S. debut. I got a chance to see the play and thought it was phenomenal. Karyn was excited with me, her last text in the e-mail was a smiley face. I knew we had a spiritual connection from the jump. Within the supernatural that I discovered as I wrote this, was that Karyn sent me a connection request on LinkedIn, before she passed. I was dismayed at first that maybe it was something I could have done to, but in a new light the omen is good because I can. It’s a sign to continue to carry the torch. #ForBrownGirls will forever live on! I could feel Karyn’s spirit through our interactions, but I could feel Karyn’s spirit mostly because of the spirit of her creativity. All in one word Karyn’s short autobiography exclaims that “Creativity fueled her being”. A few words from my genius friend that exclaims the key of life for all the races and sexes of the world: Stay Creative! Stay Innovative, Stay Cutting edge! and For the sake of  Brown Girls everywhere, be bold, be fierce, and be fearless.

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Good Bread Alley Launches KickStarter Campaign

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Good Bread Alley Created by Actor/Writer/Producer April Yvette Thompson Is an epic period play with Afro Cuban and Gullah music, dance and myth exploring the most fundamental truths about a mother’s love and the struggle to become better than what was promised.

The Team behind the production recently launched a KickStarter campaign to back funding. Below are some links to the campaign video, words from the playwright as well as a fantastic article on IndieWire about the work of the producers, SimonSays Entertainment.  The goal is to have supporters of the arts be a part of making the magic that is Good Bread.

How Does the Good Bread Alley KickStarter Work? http://kck.st/OaeuLq

Why Did April Write Good Bread Alley? http://goodbreadalley.weebly.com/blog.html

Who is SimonSays Entertaiment and Why Are They Producing Good Bread Alley? http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/simonsays-entertainment-the-enterprising-artists-who-would-become-discerning-producers

Find out more about the project by connecting with Good Bread Alley on Twitter and Instagram: @GoodBreadAlley

Best,

April D. Byrd

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Infographic Highlights Racial Success and Inequality in Hollywood

African-Americans have 1,038 Billion dollars worth of buying power 12 Years A Slave pulled the same ROI as The Hunger Games with a significantly smaller budget, and Black Film Festivals are on the rise, so what’s going on? Will we keep up the good trend? A new Info-graphic created by the New York Film Academy has nearly everything we could ever love to know about the progress and status of black people in the film industry.

The graphic includes a timeline of success and innovation in black film, as well as many ways African-Americans lag behind in media. Last year was really good for Black Hollywood, but are our stories being handled correctly? Producer Will Packer had some “Powerful” advice regarding that front as listed in the graphic:

“It’s imperative that the next generation of young black film makers realize that their power is in their unique perspectives, unique skill sets, and unique stories. Standing out is a good thing in Hollywood.”

That is highly agreed, director Malcolm D. Lee also advised quite simply to “Just keep making quality movies.” How far have we come and How far do we intend to go? The info-graphic definitely stands as a good compass and resource. Check it out for yourself (below):

Click to See Full Graphic

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Click to See Full Graphic

How are you feeling about the state of Black Film and entertainment? Do you think Black Hollywood needs to up the ante? More Genres? More diversity? or are we feeling fine with where it’s at? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thinking Like A Cheating Man Is Useless

 

It’s Apparent that the new genre of “Men Teaching Women How They Think” style of book publishing must be thought of as a growing and effective tool in relationship advice.  After the recent  release of Tyrese Gibson’s and “Rev Run” Simmons’s new collaboration: “Manology: Secrets of Your Man’s Mind Revealed” and the inspirational Juggernaut “Act Like A lady, Think Like A Man  it’s no doubt that women will probably be bombarded with a lot more of these self-proclaimed “insider secrets”… to understanding a man’s mind. While, it’s highly accommodating to have the influence of wise and learned voices contributed to the world’s knowledge, the format is fickle.

Actually the book “Manology “in particular, is a great read! Run’s unique, insightful wisdom mixed with Gibson’s charming wit throughout the book, makes for that awesomely addictive type of read that’s hard to put down. However, as enjoyable and enlightening as these types of books are, they’re still very useless in regards to maintaining a successful romantic relationship with anyone.   Despite all the generalizations or universal expectations we may place on men in this society, the representation of “all men” or even “most” is still irrevocably limited to the concept of the Author. Every dynamic of an Author’s life plays a role in the content they create, and their specific culture definitely has a major impact in it.

Without a doubt American men or men who were primarily raised in America tend to have a common defect that’s really no secret, especially not to a smart woman. Books like these don’t do much more than publicize some men’s choice for infidelity, over monogamy. Airing dirty laundry in chapters titled “Why Men Cheat” or sharing their dirty little “Secrets” just exposes the illusive misguidance of a culture.

Since this problem, excuse me “thought process” is now being published boldly out in the open, it’s best to stop so much writing about it, and start putting strategic solutions into action, like the Authors starting mentor programs for young men for example. However, Infidelity is not exclusively set to men, its rationale can conquer any soul ungrounded from a system of healthy, principle -based living.  Our best thoughts and advice as individuals are not determined by understanding the general truths of the opposite sex; they are derived from where we place our own unique and sacred values as individuals, whether we‘re male or female.

A practice of Vows or even celibacy until marriage is first a commitment to self. Improving ourselves first is the only training ground we have before we get into a relationship with anyone else. Practice makes perfect! A woman is prized through virtue; THIS JUST IN…So is a Man. Men should be taught moral excellence as much as a woman is. It’s ok that it’s MEN like Tyrese, T.D. Jakes, Steve Harvey, and Tyler Perry seem to be the leading voices in content directed toward women, but some of these men have admitted to infidelity themselves.

When it all boils down to it the success of our relationships is based on our values. If you claim to be a man of Faith, or woman of integrity then own it, and owning it is really committing to it.  If spiritual values are compromised to satisfy physical wants then there is already a problem, and NOBODY no matter what sex, wants to voluntarily be in a problematic relationship. Indeed all relationships have problems, but there is one that is filled with complete wholeness.

In the end we all are subject to weakness, or some longing unholy desire. We all make mistakes. We try to impress one another, then we fall short, but the aim is not to please man; it’s to please God. When our ways please the Lord, we make even our enemies live at peace with us. This is the “thinking” that makes love pure and gives us reasoning to resist foolish temptations. Keep Calm and Let Christ’s love adorn you. Committing to sanctity, is committing to empowering ourselves for the best possible relationships, you may like it, but if you absolutely LOVE it, then put a ring on it! A bit of advice for “All my single ladies”…and Gentlemen:  think like God intended.

 

*this post was published on YBW