With everything that is going on in the world, life can get really heavy and a bit depressing. It's always nice to have little pick me ups that add balance to the negativity. If you're in need of a laugh, check out these babies re-enacting a black funeral. This may be one of the funniest videos I've seen in awhile. From the alto 2 version of Fred Hammond's classic "No Weapon" to the little boy killing the pastor-like mannerisms, you can tell these children live in the church. Let's just hope grandma didn't catch them playing with her placemats on her good couch.Check out the video below.ROFL these kids are role playing a black funeral. I'm screaming 💀 pic.twitter.com/0scN3CiFcx— dejon. (@_Chickenist) September 8, 2017Everyone have a fabulous...
Y'all, I miss my grandma. Photo: The Oprah Winfrey ShowI think of her often as I navigate my twenties, remembering all of her wisdom and great teachings. She passed away when I was 21 years old and often, I need her more now than I did as a child. My Grandma Carrie was born in 1913 and lived until 2010 (what a legacy), and just like yours, she endured the toughest times, earning her right as the family matriarch. Your strong family unit was built on your grandma's back.Black women have a certain uniqueness and resilience passed on throughout the generations. If you were raised by a black grandmother, she made you into the person you are today. Here are a few definitive characteristics and moments black children know all too well, in past and present tense, if you're lucky enough to still enjoy your granny's amazing quirks.1. You know better than to think there are cookies inside here.Photo: Royal DanskA dream deferred. When you see this container, your mouth waters for the sweetness inside. Once you remove the top, you're bamboozled yet again. No cookies. Sewing kits, band-aids, pencils, etc. Once the cookies are gone, this tin can turns into a multipurpose organizer for granny. You knew better.2. Her assortment of church hats.Photo: Key & PeeleBlack grandmas are the inventors of church hats. Don't let anyone tell you any different. It's her way of flexin' during bread and wine on First Sunday and when other churches visit for revival.3. Your reaction when you heard, "Go get me a switch."Photo: Family MattersTore. That. Ass. Up!4. But she always granted immunity.Photo: The Player's ClubEven on the days when you cut up the worst, Nana wouldn't let moms and pops lay a finger on "her baby". Unfortunately, you knew you'd get it when you got home.5. Your secret handshake.Photo: Soul FoodShe whispered in your ear, "Hold out your hand," and you walked away with a dollar bill or more. It's the same feeling as being on Contestant's Row for The Price is Right.6. In a bad storm, you had to turn off all the lights.Photo: TumblrHer only explanation was, "Hush, God is talking."7. You had to grease her scalp and vice versa.Photo: How to Get Away with MurderAnd you better not miss a section.8. There is a distinct difference between her food and the rest of the pack.Photo: Soul FoodYour mama's cooking is LIT and auntie throws down too, but they're no match for Grams. You're not sure how she did it, but the food was so delectable that you were certain she slipped some sort of narcotic in the dish.9. Cartoons and "off the bus" snacks are synonymous.Photo: Golden GlobesYou came home from school famished. She handed out snacks to you, your siblings and your cousins. You stuffed your face aimlessly as you watched Arthur, Power Rangers and Tiny Toons, until Oprah and the news came on. Although you went with her to the store the week prior to pick out your favorite snacks, she still surprised you with a treat. 10. She knew everybody's business within a 30 mile radius.Photo: In Living ColorShe knows everybody's business better than the local news affiliate. But you better stay out of grown folk business.11. Grandma is a hymnal.Photo: Tumblr"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and "At the Cross" are just a few of her greatest hits. Through the good times and the bad, she sang all the glory to his name.12. The splitting of gender roles.Photo: The Color PurpleIf you were a boy, you better be cranking up that lawnmower. And for the girls, you best be in the kitchen shucking corn or snapping beans. Wherever you were stationed, boy or girl, you better be working hard, bih.13. You know this man and what time to expect him.Photo: The Young and The RestlessMatter of fact, you know Erica Kane, Stefano DiMera and the entire soap crew. You can't tear a black grandma away from her "stories."Black grandmas are your greatest cheerleaders and have a way of making you feel special. Treasure them while they're here. If so, go hug yours for me.What are your favorite grandma memories? Share them below in the...
Blavity sat down with Alvin Irby, Chief Reading Inspirer at Barbershop Books, a nationally recognized program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops. Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy initiative that's working to close the reading achievement gap for young black boys. It leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in black communities to connect black men to black boys’ early reading experiences, to improve black boys’ access to engaging children’s books, and to increase the time black boys spend reading for fun.
Irby is a passionate educator committed to innovative curriculums, child-centered education, and transformative teaching and leadership. As a national speaker and award-winning entrepreneur, he has inspired thousands of educators, barbers, youth development professionals and public officials. Irby studied Sociology and Economics at Grinnell College, received his Masters of Science in General Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, and completed his Masters of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. Irby has taught kindergarten and first grade in both charter and district public schools in New York City and served as Education
Blavity: Tell us more about your background, what made you dedicated to improving education for men and boys of color?
Alvin Irby: I have a masters in childhood education and have taught kindergarten and first grade for several years. I also served as Education Director for the Boys Club of New York, where I managed a variety of after school and summer education programs for boys ages 6 to 21. The combination of being a black male and being an early childhood educator created a perfect storm one day in a barbershop. One of my students happened to walk into a barbershop while I was getting a haircut. Watching him sit for a long time with nothing to do inspired me to create barbershop books.
B: When I take a look at the education system in the United States, it leaves me feeling defeated, what are ways you stay inspired to tackle the system in new and innovative ways?
AI: Every time I walk into a barbershop and I see a father, mother, or grandparent reading with a small child I'm encouraged and inspired. When I see programs popping up across the country that have been inspired by our work, I know we're making a difference and more children develop a love for reading as a result of our work. I now have the opportunity to give keynote talks and facilitate trainings at early childhood conferences across the country. I often speak about cultural competency and how it creates transformative learning experiences for children. The reception and feedback from educators at these speaking engagements has been tremendously positive and definitely motivates me to keep pressing forward.
B: My favorite part about your mission is that you use culturally-relevant, age-appropriate, and gender-responsive content. Tell us more about how reading materials that aren't relevant can push children of color further away from learning.
AI: We know about the infamous #Oscarssowhite hashtag, but I believe there should be a similar hashtag for the children's book industry: #Childrensbookssowhite because, they are. A recent survey by Lee and Low books found that over 70% of children's publishing is white females, and not surprisingly, less than 5% of books feature black protagonists or are about black people. I've spent a lot of time thinking about the reading challenges that boys face, and I've reached the conclusion that a lot of their struggles stem from adults who ignore their interests. Boys generally like funny, silly, and gross books, but these types of titles are rarely used or highlighted in school. Boys with few reading experiences outside of school to affirm or cultivate his reading identity might conclude that he isn't a reader or that reading isn't for him. Thinking about how children identify and what interests them should be the basis for choosing books whether it's at home or in school.
B: Lets talk about why access matters. In your opinion, how does access to books and reading materials open up a world of opportunities for black children?
AI: The research is clear about the impact of book access. Children with great access to age-appropriate books spend more time reading. The U.S. Department of Education's reading data shows that students who read for fun just once or twice a month have higher reading scores than students who indicate never or hardly ever reading for fun. So, the one to two trips that many young black boys take to the barbershop each month can make a real difference. Studies have also found that the number of books present in a child's home leads to high educational attainment.
B: Additionally, lets talk about space. To what extent is learning in a safe space a vital aspect of increasing literacy among black boys?
AI: Unfortunately, far too many schools are not safe learning environments for black boys, and I'm not talking about physically safe but social-emotionally and culturally safe. Black boys often find themselves in classrooms and school cultures that ask them to hate who they are or where they come from. Black boys rarely see themselves reflected positively in books or the culture of their schools, and this has a cumulative effect on the extent to which many black boys identify with school and learning. Why would you like school if everyday you are told that everything about you is wrong? The way you talk. The way you walk. What you eat. How you think. How you behave. The key to improving reading outcomes for black boys is creating reading experiences that cultivate black boys' reading identity. Parents and educators should spend more time thinking about how to help black boys say three words: "I'm a reader."
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The past few days have been nothing short of draining. Going to bed Tuesday night hearing that another unarmed black man was killed, only to attempt to sleep Wednesday night after watching the Falcon Heights shooting video was nothing short of tragic. In times like these, it is crucial to remember that as a black person in America, our self-care is crucial.
On Thursday afternoon, #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 started trending on Twitter. It was started by Heben Nigatu, the co-host of one of our favorite podcasts, Another Round and a co-writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The hashtag resurrected some of our favorite viral videos of all time, as well as some new ones we haven't seen before.
I am following @heavenrants and #CarefreeBlackKids2K16 because boy do I need this today. You might too.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 7, 2016
If you need a pick-me up or something to brighten your day, take a look at our amazing kids.
When this little girl killed it!
#CarefreeBlackKids2k16 my child https://t.co/F4Ojky3NAM
— Julia (@juliaocw) July 7, 2016
Mr. Postman, the carefree black kid version.
— Heben Nigatu (@heavenrants) July 7, 2016
Let's not forget the most classic vine of all-time.
@heavenrants #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 ICONIC https://t.co/ooGT0mScBW
— Eyezora (@eyezora) July 7, 2016
When your whole family lit.
— Squidward Tortellini (@Zeadache) July 7, 2016
Carefree enough to join your mama in dance.
— Robyn (@Swaggy_Peete) July 7, 2016
Best "Drunk in Love" cover, ever....
THOSE BABY CHEEKS 👼🏾 #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 https://t.co/0lh2Pi7prh
— Heben Nigatu (@heavenrants) July 7, 2016
...and the best jig to a Jay-Z song, ever.
— Stacey E. Singleton (@staceyNYCDC) July 7, 2016
You just really can't out do black kids.
— TheThirdPew (@NathanZed) July 7, 2016
"The whole world makes me happy."
Let her sweet voice touch your soul #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 pic.twitter.com/pmzS6gfdkG
— It's My Birthday ✨ (@kayarand) July 8, 2016
"It's a beautiful day to smile" 😭😭 #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 https://t.co/LhuXrYuipY
— Heben Nigatu (@heavenrants) July 7, 2016
We literally make fun out of any moment.
— Gabby DUB (@GabbyW626) July 8, 2016
And we serve as the best squad.
I'm at my happiest when I'm w/ them. They're loud & so extra. I love them so much. #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 pic.twitter.com/8xGDHC48ii
— cliff bar (@civilwarcliff) July 7, 2016
Teach them at a young age...
#CarefreeBlackKids2k16 in Chicago of all places. pic.twitter.com/bKtz6HmP0Z
— Qui (@anonquiqui) July 8, 2016
...and get them in "Formation."
My 5 year old daughter and little sister is in FORMATION ✊🏾✨ daughter hits dab at the end lol #CarefreeBlackKids2K16 pic.twitter.com/SnNC6YXOxC
— GEM. (@ROZtheCreator) July 8, 2016
Lifting spirits, one action at a time.
They prolly won't ever know how much they've lifted my spirits today. Love my fam. #carefreeblackkids2k16 pic.twitter.com/rTRRtifyk1
— insertsumthingclever (@_bri_elise_) July 8, 2016
Last but not least, let's not forget this epic moment in Carefree Black Kid history.
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Who needs friends when you have a pack of diapers? Florida native Rose Bennett was shocked and slightly amused to discover her son Ben's new BFF. Ben is a 1-year-old who's grown to love his diapers, thanks to a familiar figure.
The young model featured on the diaper package is black with curly hair. Ben saw himself in the baby's face and immediately became enamored.
Ben thinks this is him and won't let go of the diapers 🙄 pic.twitter.com/y6Pg8acrdU
— BatRose (@SleeplesssInKy) June 24, 2016
Bennett tried to explain the situation to Ben, but it was too late. “I told him it wasn’t him but he insisted on dragging the diapers around and hugging them,” she told the Huffington Post. Ben became so dedicated that his mother began documenting their adventures on social media.
A Boy and his Diapers: a memoir pic.twitter.com/tLKaFYaXks
— BatRose (@SleeplesssInKy) June 25, 2016
This is a cute story about an adorable child that opens up a larger conversation. You've heard it countless times before, “Representation matters.” It's a fact that's not lost on Bennett. “I think he became so attached because he’s never seen another baby that looks like him on packaging for diapers.”
“Representation is more important than we think,” she continued. “I want to see other babies that look like him, so he knows there are others and that it is possible for him to be a baby model, as well.”
We live in a world where minorities are disproportionately represented in media. With a few exceptions, the film world continues to maintain the status quo of white male protagonists. In 2015, the University of California did a study on the ethnic and racial makeup of 2014's top 100 films.
The stunning result? Only 17 featured a non-white lead or co-lead. When you read that, it's no surprise children like Ben would gravitate towards something as simple as a photo on a pack of diapers. When you see yourself in the world it's a form of validation. It means you matter.
Yes, self-love is important. You shouldn't allow outsiders to dictate how you feel. But that doesn't excuse the blatant disregard for the different races and faces that make up our society. You exist.
Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
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Do you know what joy looks like? If you've never seen it before, take a look at 1 year old, LJ. The folks over at Because of Them We Can shared a video on Facebook of LJ's reaction to hearing his own melody that he created.
Upon hearing the playback, LJ commenced to having a jamfest that would rival some other drummers in the game right now.
Somebody get this baby in the studio.
Being cheered on by his biggest fans in the background (aka his parents) ensures that LJ's skills will continue to be nurtured, and one can be sure that he'll be on his own stage sometime soon.
We can't wait to see what else is in store for LJ and shoutout to his amazing parents!
Give baby LJ some love in the comments and tell us what talents you had at 12 months old.
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We live in a society where everyone is milestone-obsessed. People are always inquiring about what's next: When's the graduation date? What's your career plan?. When are you planning to buy a house? Get married? Or, of course, When are you planning on having kids? Then, when you finally do have kids, they ask when you'll have more! It's like a never-ending, torturous cycle.
What people fail to realize is that the discussion about family planning is a very sensitive topic and a pretty intrusive question to ask. As a force of habit, people might just blurt out the question routinely without fully thinking it through.
Here are a few reasons why you should reconsider asking that almost always unsolicited question:
1. They might not want children
Believe it or not, some people just want to remain childless. They have the right to choose, and no, it is not unusual. This could be for a plethora of reasons. Perhaps they travel a lot, have a demanding career, enjoy their freedom or...just don't want to bring children into the world we live in. No one should be made to feel guilty or "less than" because they want to skip the parenting gig. It's great for people to know what they want (or don't want) out of life. If they're talking about their latest projects or plans for the near future and don't mention childrearing, take the hint!
2. They might be having trouble conceiving
This is the first and foremost important reason why you should never make blanket statements or press your way into figuring out why a couple still has yet to conceive. It's not as easy as it seems— many couples try for years on end before finally conceiving, have experienced loss, or never have a breakthrough.
Chrissy Teigen's phraseology was so perfect in discussing this:
"So, anytime somebody asks me if I'm going to have kids, I'm, like, 'One day, you're going to ask that to the wrong girl who's really struggling, and it's going to be really hurtful to them.' And I hate that. So, I hate it. Stop asking me."
3. It's really none of your business
This sums it up in a nutshell. It's really not your call. Having children is a huge responsibility and personal commitment — very much like marriage or buying a house. Those are decisions no one should ever feel pressured into because, at the end of the day, they are the ones who have to live with their choices.
So the next time you find yourself having the urge to ask someone when they intend to conceive, please refrain.
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READ NEXT: The trials and triumphs of being a family...
In the wake of the controversial children's book A Birthday Cake for George Washington, which inaccurately pushed the "happy slave narrative", being removed from the shelves, here's a list of children's literature that's more historically accurate.
1. The People Could Fly, by Virginia Hamilton
2. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, by John Steptoe
3. Bird In a Box, by Andrea Davis Pinkney
4. Bud Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis
5. Meet Addy, by Connie Porter
6. The Land, by Mildred D. Taylor
7. Bright Eyes, Brown Skin, by Cheryl Willis Hudson and Bernette G. Ford
8. Mirandy and Brother Wind, by Patricia McKissack
9. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
10. Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North (Dear America), by Patricia McKissack
11. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
Because a little help never hurt...
First released in 2010, Bino and Fino is an animated series, created by EVCL, that aims to fill a much needed niche in contemporary educational children’s programming. Catering primarily to children and families with African ancestry, the Nigerian-produced show takes children on an exciting ride through the continent, as they explore various cultures, geographies, themes of female empowerment, and science, with their new animated friends, Bino and Fino.
“There’s a missing voice in children’s television in Africa,” Ibrahim Waziri, head of business development at EVCL, explains. “Even in the U.S., how many Black children’s shows can you count on your hand right now? Apart from maybe Doc McStuffins. We want to reach the Black diaspora and families who are interested in knowing more about Africa. And I think right now there is a key interest to learn more about our culture.”
Additional to the educational element of the show is Bino and Fino’s cultural authenticity. The children voices behind the main characters use their Nigerian accents and the characters wear traditional garb. “It’s a show from here, so it has to reflect how people speak,” Waziri says. And while showcasing diverse accents on children’s programming may seem frivolous to some, this small aspect helps children from around the diaspora to further build familiarity with other Black cultures as they head out into our continuously globalized world.
Bino and Fino has been aired across Nigeria, South Africa and the UK, and can be watched online on Kweli TV, Rainbowme, AfroLand TV as well as their YouTube channel.
If you can’t get enough of the show, visit their website where you can find DVD’s as well as Bino and Fino plush toys, which make the perfect gift for any child....
The arts present opportunities for us to be deeply uncomfortable and yet totally safe. And for me they have become a space for radical transformation. Most recently I was reminded of this during Lupita Nyongo’s performance in Eclipsed, a story of the women of the Liberian civil war, at the Public Theater. The moment she stepped on stage I felt an incredibly familiar dread. Her hair — unkempt and knotty — splayed around the top of her face like a crown of a displaced queen. Her clothes, dirt-caked, torn rags, dingy and barely covering a pair of bony knees. My heart ached and my breathing became shallow and she spoke to a pair of women, one young and pregnant, the other solid and braiding her hair inside a structure that could barely be called a building. I wanted to get out of my seat and leave the room. I wondered how could they have agreed to be in this place, to be so wrong in front of an audience. Especially this audience.
When I was in the lobby I played my favorite game, “count the black people,” and came up with a number that fit on two hands. This was a primarily white audience and the thought that they, too, could were watching these women in such a state felt like too much. When black bodies are on display like this I experience a genuine fear that these white people will forget that this is a story and it will reinforce their thoughts that we are only worthy of their pity and compassion, rather than equality.
But what does it say about me, that my immediate reaction to these characters was a desire to cover them up, to present them as clean, more refined and genteel?
I have been a “safe” black person for my whole life. You know, the black person that white parents meet and think, “Oh what a nice, articulate black woman.” They assume that I received some scholarship to go to a nice boarding school, got into some liberal arts school with the help of affirmative action and will never be a danger because I’m “well behaved.” That’s not my story – but for my entire life, I’ve derived pride from being a “good black” person. I am the kind of black person who goes to events at the Harvard Club, has a weekend place and is an arts patron. Some people would call me bougie. I would call them right. But even the bougie yearn for liberation.
Unfortunately, we are choking on respectability politics. We are bound and struggling and need a path out. More now than ever we need to be brave, honest, real and ready. Because our lives and the lives of those that we love are constantly threatened. And we must use our comfort to secure and advocate for those who are not in the same circumstances. Because we can afford to.
Over the past few years, in light of the video evidence of police brutality, there has been increased coverage in popular and niche media of respectability politics. And I have been grateful for this but also have felt dismayed, for they offer no solutions. No ways out. Just a terrifying reminder that my fanciness won’t save me. And more importantly that my pretense alienates me, makes me uncomfortable in the hood, unsure of what to do when I’m in all-black spaces.
Well, it did, until I found a door to the community and the movement – an entry to sisterhood. I remember when I saw Carrie Mae Weems retrospective at the Guggenheim, there was a single photograph, titled May Flowers and produced in 2002, that made me weep. Standing in the white rotunda, I cried because I had never seen little black girls as art. And we were beautiful. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life and opened me up to realizing how committed I am to the lives of black girls. How much I yearn for them to have comfort, security and, more importantly, justice.
I remember the first time that I saw the brilliance of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's "Urban Bush Women," a dance company that tells the stories of women of the African Diaspora through movement. The dancers' bodies were so strong and present. It made me so uncomfortable and yet I was fixated in finally seeing a figure like mine and with such power and comfort. I envied their freedom and was inspired to reclaim my own physicality.
The arts have given me space to heal and Eclipsed gave me space to hope that by being in community, we can create new realities. Even when times are tough. So this is a thank you to Lupita and playwright Danai Gurira for their revolutionary courage.
“Most law enforcement officers would rather take a bullet than shoot a toddler. However, Tamir Rice was not a toddler and, even if his age was known at the time of the incident, he was perfectly capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury.”
That’s not a tweet. It’s not a Facebook status. It’s a line from an official review by two “experts” who believe that 12-year-old Tamir Rice was justifiably shot and killed on a Cleveland playground.
Let’s rewind for a minute. On Nov. 22, 2014, someone called Cleveland officers in fear of a person having a gun. This person, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, was playing with a toy guy on a playground in Ohio when officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Rice within seconds of arriving at the scene. No questions asked, no dialogue, no attempt to understand the situation. Just shooting, killing, and not caring who the target was or could've been.
The video, which is too chilling for many to watch, shows what many agree was a lethal overreaction by a trigger-happy cop. Once again, black boys are forced to bear the burden of adult worries too early. Tamir Rice, a young boy with a toy, was seen my an officer as dangerous, deadly, and a threat to society.
Most would agree that the the officer-in-training was completely out of line, but not two “experts.” Lamar Sims, Senior Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Office of the Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey, a veteran to investigating officer shootings, told ABC News that, “a police officer could’ve believed Rice’s gun was a real firearm.” Therefore, the murder was justified. FBI agent Kimberly A. Crawford, who’s taught classes in the use of deadly force, asserted that “not only was Officer Loehmann required to make a split-second decision, but also that his response was a reasonable one.”
Not only do we live in a nation that runs on a law enforcement system that feels it's ok to shoot at children with no questions asked, but we also live with “experts” who defend them. There is no real investigation, there is no accountability, there is no care. Once again, our nation and our law enforcement, the folks that are supposed to be protecting us, have made it clear that our men, our women and our children do not matter.
The case is far from over. The Rice family attorney, Subodh Chandra, has already vowed to fight for someone to show accountability in this murder. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who recently met with Black Lives Matter activists, tweeted her support for the Rice family on Monday morning. The evidence from both sides will be presented to the grand jury.
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