Image

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.

Image

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

Infographic-AprilDByrdtop

Infographic-AprilDByrd

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.

Exclusive Writer’s Workshop With Trey Anthony

WomanBlackPowerful

Wanna be a Great Writer? This is year to do it! With an Award Winning, Recognized World-wide Writer, Producer, and Artist. Trey Anthony is a Four Time NAACP Award-Winning Writer, Huffington Post Contributor, and creator of ‘Da Kink In My Hair’ Series. She’s hosting exclusive Writer’s Workshops in the U.S. and Canada.The first workshop of the series “She Writes What Is Sacred: Part 1” kicks off in Atlanta on Sunday January, 19th. The Workshop/ Writer’s Boot Camp is for Writers on any level.

The Producer is offering fellow Writers, Creatives, and aspiring Artists a chance to a chance to see how it all works and opportunities to explore relevant, unanswered truths about the creative writing process. Beyond creative development, Writers will discuss questions such as:

WHAT THINGS IN MY LIFE DO I CHOOSE TO WRITE ABOUT?
HOW DO I MERGE REALITY WITH FICTION?
HOW DO YOU USE “REAL” PEOPLE TO CREATE DYNAMIC
FICTIONAL CHARACTERS?
IF IT DIDN’T REALLY HAPPEN TO “ME” CAN I WRITE ABOUT IT?
HOW DO I WRITE THROUGH THE PAIN?
HOW DO TO WRITE THROUGH FEAR?
HOW CAN MY WRITING HEAL MYSELF AND OTHERS?
`
In the group writing workshop, Trey takes writers on a journey of self exploration and how to write their Vision and Truth. The Event will be held at Sister Love, Inc. on Ralph David Abernathy, Blvd.

For tickets and more info visit: shewrites.brownpapertickets.com/

Da Kink In My Hair Debuts In The U.S.

                                If You want to know about a black woman, touch her hair.– Novelette, Da’ Kink In My Hair

dakinkinmyhair

Rejuvenating, Refreshing, Inspirational…hard to believe i’m talking about a stage play, but “Da Kink In My Hair” by Trey Anthony and directed by Andrea Frye is all of these. In melody and in monologue Da Kink In My Hair is a winner. Atlanta, Georgia got to find out why, as the production finally made it’s United States debut. Da Kink In My Hair is a winner because it’s magical and marvelous, while also being meaningful as it deals with a variety of topics.

dakink1

The for colored girls-esque dramedy covers everything from self-esteem, to color-ism, racism, child molestation and homosexuality. Unlike the other “colored girls” play, Da Kink In My Hair has an enlivening flair and a modern day edge. In a series of character monologues and musical numbers that hold their own and give life to the story. Da Kink In My Hair manages to give a voice to the many “black girl problems”, new ones and the age old ones. As much as the play details the problems, it also highlights the solutions. In a wave of sisterhood, encouragement, humor, and foul language, Da Kink In My Hair takes the audience to church. Being a type of women’s sanctuary, the Jamaican hair salon set in Canada empowers through it’s plot. The performances are stellar and the headliners are worth their salt.

trey

Trey Anthony’s talent graciously pulls everything together, not only being the shows sole writer and producer, but also carrying a Jamaican accent on stage as the salon owner Novelette. The accents were on point with the culture and idiosyncrasies of Jamaican dialect, but the content of the show is even better. I love Da Kink In My Hair because it celebrates inner strength and the freedom to make the decisions that are right for you. Da Kink In My Hair is a phenomenal must-see not only for colored girls, but for all races.

The “Da Kink In My Hair” showcase is running in Atlanta September 6-8 at Cobb Galleria Performing Arts Center. Tickets are being sold through Ticketmaster, and more info can be found on the play’s website dakinkinmyhair.com

dakinkfly