Beyonce, Blue Ivy, and the Public Performance of Motherhood


A snapshot of one day never tells a life’s story.

Beyoncé is giving the performance of a lifetime, and for once, it’s not for us. This past week, Bey came under fire for the appearance of her daughter Blue Ivy’s hair. It’s not the first time. And this isn’t the first time I’ve written about Bey, Blue and hair, either. What’s new? This petition imploring the Carters to comb Blue Ivy’s hair.

When I see people do stupid things, I slow blink at them. Slowly. And then I go on about my business. That’s essentially what I did when I read about the plea to “comb that baby’s hair.”

But in thinking about the incredibly public role Beyoncé is playing as a mother, I was reminded of a truism about motherhood:

Motherhood, and especially Black motherhood, is very much about performance. 

What do I mean? Motherhood is a highly scrutinized position that will have non-mothers and mothers alike offering opinions on how best to raise your child. Not only that, but your body and your child are visually inspected to ensure that you are being a “good” mother according to normative standards. A child with a crusty nose in public inspires you to wonder where a parent is to wipe the mess up. Ashy children are the progeny of wretches. A toddler with mismatched clothing draws clucking hens.

Before they can even talk, our children’s appearances speak volumes about who we are as parents. So mothers dab stale spit onto thumbs and rub dried food off chubby cheeks before heading into the grocery store. And the babies squirm. They don’t care about the orange sweet potato lingering from lunch! They are full and happy; we worry only about the adults with baleful stares thinking, “Why’d she let her kids out of the house looking like that?

So we perform motherhood publicly, over and over again. 

Beyoncé performs the life of a pop star flawlessly but her performance of motherhood diverges from the script she has written for herself.

Read the rest at Truly!

We ride grief; we do not conquer it


Grief will lull you into believing it has passed and then rush in unexpectedly.

 We ride grief in waves; we do not conquer it. It is wide and wild and ebbing, coming back to drench you when you think you have wiped your face dry of tears. If you know someone who is riding grief and you ask, “How are you?” They may just be answering for that day. Because tomorrow might just be all wet and the day after that, the sun again rises. Just stand in the water with them and wade. That is how we live.

6 Must-Have Graphic T-shirts that Celebrate Black Women

Yo Amo Mi Pajon

Yo Amo Mi Pajon, by Dominican blogger Miss Rizos

I’m still recovering from Memorial Day! Most of you, like me, probably went back to your cubicle unis after spending the weekend in sundresses, shorts and tanks. Wasn’t it nice to feel the air brush your skin for a change? I love warm weather clothes and I’ve been looking to step up my t-shirt game in time for summer to arrive next month.

I’ve never been big on t-shirts because most run too large for my petite frame. But I bought a graphic tee last year that really expanded my idea of how to dress up a t-shirt and still look well put-together. There are many different styles of t-shirts, but my absolute favorite type is the kind that sends a message or that says something about its wearer.

What do I want my t-shirts to say about me?

I’m a thinker (I won’t even qualify that with deep)
I am pro-Black Diaspora
I am lover of Black women and Black girls
Natural hair is a passion

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you guys a handful of the shirts I’m scheming to buy this summer. I like supporting small businesses or freelance work; the people behind these t-shirts are all independent of mass retail in one way or another.

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari!

Two Must-See Web Series You Should Be Watching

web series

This web series, First, will knock you off your feet.

Last month, I started watching two web series  produced and written by Black actors that are restoring my faith in love at first sight (of a TV show). I don’t rely on television for entertainment for this primary reason:

In a television climate where we have witnessed both Mary Jane Paul (Being Mary Jane) and Olivia Pope (Scandal) do unflattering things seeking the attention of unavailable men, frankly, I’m tired. I don’t want to see another crestfallen brown-skinned face. I don’t want another heartbroken Black girl on my flat screen with a flat-lined romance.

And I no longer want to be that Black girl fed up with poorly written roles that fail to center their lived experiences.

Falling in love can be a dizzying carousel of emotions. Every novel sensation blurs like passing lights, leaving you with nly a lasting impression, an imprint that tattoos itself upon your memory. We hoard mementos from the early days of courtship to remind ourselves–love was not a spiraling fall but a climb from affinity to affection.

Good art makes me feel like this, too. Enamored and intrigued. Appetite whet and senses heightened because the next curve is unexpected. Newness teases out your full attention because its game is so flirtatious.

So I tuned into First, a web series executive produced by rising star Issa Rae. The series is written by and starring actress Jahmela Biggs as Robin, and Will Catlett as Charles, two childhood friends who run into each other and spark a new flame. I also stumbled upon An African City, a web series featuring five beautiful African women returning to the continent to live.

For several different reasons, these two web series make me believe in quality film  entertainment again.

Read my reviews of First and An African City here and here!