Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kim Burrell - The Uncomfortable Applause

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As a young boy growing up it was a requirement by my dad that all of his five children attend Sunday morning church service.    As a single parent there were things that my dad required and attending church was on the top of the list.   I enjoyed going to church as a boy for that was where I got to be with my maternal grandmother.    Big Mama was nurturing, loving and strong and I would fall asleep on her lap every Sunday.  The black Baptist church experience was amazing for it was where I fell in love with Christ.  However, as I got older I would hear various sermons, some more resonant in my memory than others.  I can’t remember when I heard my first sermon regarding what the ministers had determined as the ultimate sin, homosexuality.  As I got older and entered my teenage years I understood that these sermons were about me and how I felt for I began to discover that I was definitely not attracted to women.  My attention and affection was truly focused on the male species.  That time of my life was very confusing and difficult for I knew what I felt and it truly did not agree with what I was being taught.  God and I had many conversations about my feelings and he did not seem fit to “fix” me.   My teenage years were rough and life did not get any easier.  This struggle was real and I honestly saw no way to make my life better and contemplated ending it.  Not sure how I was going to do that but it was a thought on a few occasions.   
As I got older I had to come to the realization that if I was created by God in his image then he knew me and made me as I wanted.  While I had to listen to some family members  that did not agree with my sexuality I made the conscious decision to trust God and live as he had made me.  Once I made that choice, not easy, then I decided to go back to church but to one that did not use the pulpit to abuse you.  

A few days ago after hearing this sermon all those difficult nights of self-doubt and confusion seemed to flood my memories.   Once I heard about Kim Burrell’s demonstrative sermon I refused to give it any credit or exposure to the same old shit I have been hearing most of my life.  However, upon seeing the sermon and hearing the cheers and applause of those in attendance I began to think of how many people were in attendance that were like me.  Feeling totally ignored by God and misunderstood and told that they are surely going to hell for being who God made them to be.  Where does someone like that turn?  Who is going to love that young boy or girl without judgement to make them really feel special?    We will never know the long lasting internal emotional scars and lifelong damage those words will make on those struggling.  Will some of these individuals grow up to embrace all of who they are or will they go off to find ways to hide their sexuality by “adopting” to societal norms and pressure to appear to be heterosexual and living a life full of duplicity.   

I’ve wondered why ministers spew such hatred.  Why is safe sex relationships the only sin that gets major attention and such rousing support from so many in the church?  Have we in the LGBTQ communities made it very easy to be the Christian punching bag?   As these sermons are preached to such support the musical department of the church is being led by a gay man and those wonderful tenor voices are those of gay men.  We have been so conditioned to feel that this our lives have no value that we clap, sing and cheer.       

I think that some of the blame, if you will, can go to those LGBT individuals that sit is silence while the church continues to use the pulpit as a weapon.   It is amazing how some in LGBT community have come to Kim Burrell’s support.  Honestly at some point we have to understand the damage that is being done not only on this issue but several others that have been used to keep people in “their place”.  No one can convince me that this is of God.  The church has used the pulpit as a whipping post to damage so many people and at some point this has to stop.  I hope that the backlash that Kim Burrell has received is a testament that change in attitudes is on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wendy Williams = Ignorance

Today in the “Did This Heffa Really Just Say That?”category, I  read an article and watch a video reported on The Grio of talk show host, Wendy Williams.    She does a special segment of her talk show called “Hot topics” where she talks about current pop culture news items.   She has a reputation for being over the top and makes comments generating shock and awe.  She took to her program to comment on the acceptance speech of Jesse Williams where he espoused black people to be have an activist nature to demand respect in this country.   The annoying thing about her comments was where she made the following statements:   “I would be really offended if there was a school known as a historically white college.”  “What if there was a national organization for white people only?”  

I asked myself, how a black woman can make such asinine statements.  Now while I am not a big fan of her, I immediately thought of her comments as a fucking disgrace.   How can you be a black mother of a black young man (teenager) and not understand the meaning or history as to why we as black citizens of this country have HBCU’s and black organization such as the NAACP?   The very utterance of this statements pissed me the fuck off.  She is an embarrassment to everything I know and love about black women.  To let that shit fall from your lips just confirms how fucking stupid she is.  Maybe her breast implants are leaking and the silicone has traveled to her damn brain.  Regardless there is NO DAMN EXCUSE for this public bullshit. 

What is it that she does not get?  There is no reason or excuse for such ignorance.  I wish that Jesse Williams or Harry Belafonte or even Oprah would give this motherfucker a lesson in black history.    I see no reason to take time to note the obvious to correct her ignorance by explaining why there are HBCU’s as well as organization like the NAACP.

Recently there has been a petition being circulated on social media asking for Shonda or ABC to remove Jesse Williams from his role on Grey’s Anatomy.   However, I would like to propose that we start a petition to have the Wendy Williams Show cancelled removing her black ignorant ass from television???!!!

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity"  
                                                                                                               ----Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I Too Sing America in the Aftermath of Orlando

The text message read: …He’s coming. I am going to die.   As a mother receiving this message how do you go on?  This was the coverage on the news this morning (one day after the shooting).  Immediately I began to cry because I could only imagine what they both (mother and son) were going through at that moment. 

Many times we are told “Life is short, makes the most of each day”.  Nothing makes this statement ring home more than a national tragedy that takes your breath away.  As I typically do when I wake up on the weekend, I immediately turn on MSNBC to see what has been happening in the world.  On Sunday, I saw that there had been a shooting in Orlando, Florida.  I then picked up my mobile phone and started scrolling through my Facebook feeds only to find out that the shooting took place in a popular gay club.  I spent the bulk of my morning watching the news coverage and saw the fatality count grow from 20 to 50 in a matter of hours.  You just grow numb.  I am not much of a club goer but when I do I go to enjoy myself with friends and this could have easily been me or someone I know and love. 

The LGBT community is hurting but most of all parents, siblings, lovers and friends are hurting much more than any of us can imagine.  What started out for most of the victims as just another night of good times and celebrations of life during Pride month with those they love turned into a night of terror and for some death.  While this tragedy does not supersede or overshadow those in the past it is the first to be specifically target on our community.   Yet again it reminds us of the horror that paralyzes us to begin going down the list of “what ifs”.  We have become a country that is consumed with guns and this seems to be the way we settle our differences or deal with our own personal issues (emotional and mental).  We must change for we can’t go on like this.  Unfortunately in a few weeks man of us will go back to life as we knew it before the night of June 11th.  The call for gun legislation will be suggested and those beholden to the NRA will fight against any regulations for it is the dance we have become accustomed to only to be a group full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

There are those that fuel hate within this country based on race, gender and sexual orientation and I want them to know that while this man had the gun the blood of each victim is on their hands as well.  You have stood on the public stage (pulpits, legislative offices, news outlets, etc.) spewing your hatred and venom on a group of people that you feel are less deserving and for that you are culpable.   You have played your part in throwing the rocks and bricks at those of us who you deem unworthy so you do not get to sit back comfortably.  You can deny your involvement as much as you want but the blood of each of those innocent individuals is forever on your hands and soak in the fiber of your being.

What kind of world have we become where a person’s “presumed” religious belief coupled with his personal dislike for people who love differently is an affront on him and his life as a human being?  When do I (Ronald Wadley) get to love and be loved without retribution, stares or distain from other people.   The fact that I show affection by hugging, touching or gently kissing my boyfriend in public should never be a reason for hatred.  When do I get to live out the dream of public love, laughter and affection with the man I love?  Is this a part of the dream of life long happiness that is only afforded those that are in opposite sex relationships?  This massacre has brought so many personal issues to the surface for me.  However, I have come to realize that the only way to get what I deserve is to take it.  I will not allow my “Dream (to be) Deferred” for “I Too Sing America”.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Side Most Never See

Hello All,

This is a very personal blog because I am in a really interesting space in my life presently.  I feel a since of inner peace that I haven’t felt in a long time.  Now do not get me wrong I am not walking around with a fixated smile or humming melodic tunes all day.  However, it appears that parts of my world are coming into focus.  I think that this is a result of therapy/counseling and age.

I started seeing a therapist last year because I felt myself digging this proverbial hole for myself that I simply wanted to crawl in and let the word just go by.  For those of you that do not know me well may not know that my mother passed away when I was 2 years of age.  Her death is something I have never really reconciled because I never thought I had to for I have not one recollection of my mother.   However, I think about her on a daily basis.  My four older siblings have memories of our mother that they have shared.  I have never felt like the odd man out but I do feel as though I have been short changed. 

Another focus of my therapy was the intimate side of my life.  A little over a year ago I ended a relationship with a person that I loved very much.  The decision was not hasty but over time it had been thought out due to the various issues that we had encountered.  It was very evident after our last conversation during our relationship that he and I were in two different places and getting back on the same path was not going to happen.  I had done all I knew how to do and in doing so the end result was that it was not enough.  I had to end it regardless of the imminent pain.

So the breakup as well as the issues regarding my mother’s death was too much for me to handle.  Fortunately I was forging a new friendship with a therapist.  I asked him if he was taking on additional clients and we began the process of peeling back the layers of my life.

As we began the process of course I noted my reason for seeking therapy.  The first few months were a bit challenging because we discussed my mother.  It was evident that I was masking some pain and discomfort after several sessions.  Things I had no idea that were beneath the surface.   We finally came to the conclusion that my mother’s death left a hole in me that I could never close and one I had not dealt with.  During one of my sessions my therapist noted “do you realize that you always mention you mother in every session regardless of what we are talking about”.  I had no idea that I was doing that which was proof that there was something there that I really needed to address.  I can remember cleaning the house one evening and my mind began to go back to the most recent session. It was at that time that the pain set in regarding my mother’s absence.  The disappointment and despair hit me in the gut.  I had to stop cleaning and sit down because realizing that there was a hole in my soul that I will never be able to resolve was very difficult to acknowledge and accept.   That realization was one of the most difficult things I had to accept and deal with.  Now armed with this new information, the question was how I could move forward.  I can say that it has not been an easy process but it is better.  Over the months we discuss my mother delving into my inner most thoughts and it has been revealing even to me. 

The other part of my therapy process was geared around my inability to sustain an intimate relationship specifically my most recent one because the pain was still fresh.  This proved a bit more difficult because I just knew that the issue was not with me but with him.  Why couldn’t he just love me in return and not feel as if I was out to get him.  Ha, silly me.  I realized that loving someone and being there for them in a very giving manner can hamper that person from giving for the willingness to do so.    I also discovered that I can’t fix a broken person for that is a job only he can do.  Now do not get me wrong, I have my own shit to correct but I knew what love and loving someone encompassed. Through therapy I was able to look back on some clear signs that showed me that he was broken but I knew he had the capacity to love.  However, what I did not know is that he did not know how to love fully nor receive that which was being given freely. Vulnerability was a weakness to him and he was not going to be weak for me or anyone else.   I know that each of us deal with brokenness to some degree but trying to love someone that does not acknowledge and/or recognize it is dangerous for it is like kryptonite to Superman.  I look back and think of his actions, words and deep conversations and in 99% of them there was a sign that I neglected and/or was unwilling to see.  I became an enabler by not addressing the elephant in the room. My work on self is DAILY but what therapy has taught me is that there is no quick fix.  I now think about things and situations a lot more intently.  When I know that it does not look right the new me realizes that I can’t save you and I am enough.  This is my que to exit because it is not going to get any better. 

Today, I am still in therapy because for me this is an ongoing process.  I see a very distinct change in my relationship evaluation process.  The once constant giver is no longer there.  I give of myself because I want to and not because I think it will help you which in turn would make me feel accomplished.  Of all the things I have to work through, this is the most challenging. 

I can remember telling my cousin Kim with whom I have a close relationship that I had given up on ever getting married.  I have always been a staunch supporter of marriage equality and felt that now that I could marry someone legally I wanted it.  However, prior to therapy and after what I consider a very devastating loss and disappointment I resided that this was not going to be part of my future.  However, the one thing therapy has given me is the ability to hope again.   I am a work in progress but I have inner peace!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Chicken's Have Come Home to Roost

Several days ago Donald Trump, who is presently seeking the republican nomination for President of the United States of America, was endorsed by David Duke.   David Duke is the head of the Klu Klux Klan, a white supremacy group with a long history of racist acts of violence in this country.  When asked about the endorsement by anchor Jake Tapper on the morning program State of the Union Donald Trump would not disavow the endorsement.  He stated “I have looked at that group.  I don’t know what group you are talking about.”  It took him approximately four days to disavow the endorsement.   Now either you’re an idiot or you are a panderer to groups like the KKK.   There is no way you could not know who of David Duke or the KKK and what they stood for.  This shows that there is no limit to what he will do to get support.

Today the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, had a news conference noting that anyone that wants to be a nominee of the Republican Party they must reject any group that is built on bigotry.  Now you want to take the high road.  As I have always been told growing up “eventually the chickens will come home to roost”.   The Republican Party has created a platform for Donald Trump to spew hatred and bigotry the moment a black man entered the White House as President of the United States 7 years ago.   The party has continued to attack and disrespect President Obama in ways that are unimaginable.  This is the same party that had a backroom meeting the night of the 2008 election noting they were going to stop anything that the newly elected President would propose.

So now you see Trump building a huge base off of a culture you allowed to be created in response to your 7 years of disrespect.  You let your fellow republicans run wild and never speaking out on those things that were blatantly wrong.  Now you want to hold a news conference noting your shock and disappointment.  Sorry, you don’t get to play that card.   This is a monster you created and now you want to appear as if your hand are clean and sanitary.  No ma’am!!! 

“Chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad, they’ve always made me glad.”  Malcolm X

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2015 Reflections

Wow...interesting year. 2015 went by so quickly.  Here I am reflecting once again on my life over the past year (yes, I know I have a few days left).  It is always interesting to go back and read these just to see where my head and heart has been through.  Overall I live a darn good life...not perfect but still good.  
In February my property management company overseeing my second home in Atlanta found my first tenant.  After about a month the issues began.  The first sign of trouble was when I received utility bills for the month of February.  The new tenant had not changed over the water, gas and electrical service in her name.  I presumed it was a mere oversight on her part.  This was the beginning of several months worth of drama that included late or no rental payment, court and finally eviction that took place in July.  While I do not regret purchasing the home the unforeseen expenses incurred were a bit much.  However, I was glad that I had a property management company that was handling everything.   At the beginning of September a new tenant was procured paying 6 months rent in advance...hallelujah .  

Just several months prior I was riding high and planning my life, I hit a bit of brick wall.   On March 2nd at approximately 8:30 pm I took the bold step of ending my 18 month relationship. This was not done on a whim but only after conversation that indicated he was no longer willing to work and invest in the relationship.   I questioned how we got to this place for some time, however, while I mourned the loss I did not regret my decision.  I do take ownership for my part in the dissolution of the relationship.
As the year progressed good news sprouted.  Cheryl and Fred, had a house/Villa built in Houston. The house is simply gorgeous and well deserved.  Close to Terrence and Teresa and most importantly their grandsons.  I was able to attend the wonderful wedding of my nephew to his beautiful bride Angelia.  I had the opportunity to meet her weeks prior to the blessed event and I can't be happier for the both of them.  I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world.  The wedding was held in his home and the reception in the back yard...tent.  Not just any ole tent either.  When my nephew does it...he does it right!!!   Air-conditioned and decorated elegantly.    The ceremony and reception were both beautiful.  I wish Angelia and Terence all the happiness that life has to offer. 
I lost my beloved aunt (Esther) on September 21st to cancer unfortunately.  On top of that my first cousin (Alice) passed away unexpectedly the following Friday, September 25th.  These two deaths were a huge blow to the family.  
 Three cousins I have never met and I got together to organize a family potluck so we can at least meet those members that we don't know.  There was a lot of laughs and fellowship in the room.  I am very glad that I was able to be a part of it.  It was a beautiful event and we had tons of food. Hopefully this will lead to a huge family reunion in the very near future.

As I looked over my life I began to question why some things kept occurring.  I decided to attend counseling.  This has been a good investment for I am finding out things about myself that I either denied or never recognized.  I want to be a better Ronald for myself and the next person that enters my life.  To be honest I am enjoying my weekly sessions.  I know it will not be forever but for now I am embracing the "AHA" moments.   
I have done quite a bit of traveling this year....whew...mostly to Atlanta.  I have spent more than my share of time in airports and hotel this year.  However, my vacation was spent in Cancun this year (November 14-19).  The temperature was in the mid 80's.  I had never visited Cancun and did not know what to expect.  I really enjoyed myself and found the city clean and overall affordable.  I also did not feel unsafe at all.  I went on a tour to one of the seven wonders (Chichen itza).  Often referred to as the Mexican pyramids.  It was fascinating.  The other days were spent on the beach facing. The Gulf of Mexico with sun tan lotion, music and a margarita. Yes, I did return with a nice brown tan!!!  I couldn't think of a better way to enjoy my time. 

Thanksgiving was spent in Houston with family.  It has been quite a few years since I have done that post the passing of my dad.  It felt good to be with Cheryl, Fred, Terrence, Teresa, Angelia, Kyle, Cameron, Myles, Dylan, Grey and Kyle 2.0.  It is great to see my great nephews growing up.  I am blessed to have such a loving and supportive family.  I have no major plans for Christmas and New Year's....other than making a pot of gumbo and chilling.

I have made some new friends this year and acquaintances this year and I have loved them all.  Some have caused me some challenges where I have had to cut them out of my life; something the old me would never have done because I always wanted to be kind.   I have laughed to the point of tears with friends old and new.  Each person that has entered my life has blessed it in some way and I am thankful for their entrance and in some instances their exit (yep I said it).  Some friendships/relationships have had to be refined and redefined but it is all good that is called growth.  I look back on 2015 and smile joyously. 

Looking forward to some pending changes planned for 2016...stay tuned.   All that I am and have I owe it to God.  Without Him I would have lost my mind in some of my life challenges or been too selfish in the joyful moments.    "In everything give thanks."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Black and White and Sex All Over

On Friday I received a copy (via Facebook) of the current Ebony magazine copy noting the cast of “The Huxtables” on the cover only this cover was a bit different.  It was made to appear as of this picture was in a glass frame where the glass had been shattered.  Of course this was in direct response to the scandal surrounding actor/comedian Bill Cosby.  Seeing the cover is quite jarring.  As the cover made the rounds on the pages of various friends I noticed that the responses were mostly the same…OUTRAGE at Ebony.   Comments like “disgraceful”, “they did not need to do that”, Ebony is no longer relevant”, etc.    You see the black community is very protective of our icons or those that we feel the rest of the world is judging harshly or treating unfairly. 

This controversy took on a head of steam earlier this year when comedian Hannibal make reference in one of his appearances that Bill Cosby was a rapist.  The media began to see this has a real story.  Women began to appear out of nowhere.  Each week more women came forward all with the same story of being drugged and potentially sexually assaulted.  This was very hard to believe about a beloved public figure that has been admired throughout the years. The question in everyone’s mind was “Why didn’t any of these numerous women go to the police to report the presumed sexual assault?”   I was truly skeptical and stood is disbelief.  However, several months after constant reporting a deposition taken under oath which was discovered where Bill Cosby spoke about giving drugs to a woman.  At this point many, as well as myself, began to believe that Bill Cosby was guilty on some level.  As this continued to go on the black media remained silent until now where Ebony spoke out loud and strong with this most recent cover.      

Personally I am torn. While I do not know if Bill Cosby is guilty or innocent and I still have some doubts because I don’t think this situation is as black and white as it seems I do think the cover is very responsible.  Too many women kept silent for some reason and we may never know that reason but this can’t be a coincidence or fear.  Surely there were several women that had enough courage to feel wronged and report this to the authorities.   I do feel there was intercourse with most of these women but the looming question that may never be answered is was it on some level consensual?   The high possibility that something took place between Bill and some of these women can’t be overlooked.  The following questions seem to loom overhead:    Were the drugs taken or given willingly or unknowingly?  Is this just a means for financial opportunity or notoriety?  What every your stance regarding this issue, the black media cannot look the other way.  Looking the other way does nothing but hinder the possibility for a viewpoint that is not being whitewashed.  Ebony has a responsibility to women as well as the rest of the community to publish an article on this situation.  Therefore, I find NOTHING wrong with the cover.  The fact that the black community continues to give a pass to those who may in fact be guilty of something egregious is not a good look.  I am disheartened that we also judged Ebony very negatively for the cover.  We often get mad at the white media when they cover our stories and don’t do them justice, however, when Ebony (black media) takes the bold and possible uncomfortable stance of reporting on those touchy circumstances within the black community they get vilified for doing so.  We can’t have it both ways.