Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beyonce Reawakens the Fertility Goddess in Her Grammy Appearance



"My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable. It's important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror — first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys — and see themselves. And have no doubt that they're beautiful, intelligent and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race, and I feel it's vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes."
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                     Beyonce





This past Sunday very pregnant Beyonce ignited a fire of goddess power in her visually appealing and very poignant Grammy performance. Using the archetypal image of the Madonna and Oshun (goddess of love, beauty and fertility), she celebrated motherhood, family and the strength of the female spirit. Motherhood for African American women has always been complicated filled with joy and fear, and rarely celebrated.




From the time we arrived on the shores of America being a Black mother has never been easy but Beyonce reminds us it can be a powerful experience. She is an artist who has displayed courage, taken risk and used her platform to explore issues close to the African American community. Her message was clear. Female relationships especially between mothers and daughters are important.  These relationships just like birth and motherhood are sacred. Against a backdrop of stereotypes, we can choose to define ourselves, find our voice and speak our truth. We can embrace the ancient wisdom that teaches us to be strong and love ourselves.









Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Black History Month





Welcome! Maple Sugar Child has been on hiatus for awhile, taking care of children became a priority last year. Of course, children always have to come first but now I am back with lots to share as we celebrate Black History Month and the African American Child. Returning in time for Black History Month is significant.  We celebrate African American achievement all year long but February gives us an opportunity to access how far we have come and what direction we need to go.  Sometimes African American children are not aware of the important role young people have played in our history. February is the best time to remind them.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Celebrate Martin Luther King's Day as a day of service year round by transforming his  dream and teachings into building and empowering your community. Visit this website for more information /www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday.



                                                          I Have A Dream


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas! and Happy New Year!


This was serendipity while checking out the the Christmas lights in Brooklyn I came across this Black Madonna and Child. A rare sight, and thought I would share it with the Maple Sugar Chid family. After a year of violence and fear.  I hope that this season will give us the strength to find love and peace where ever we are.  May the gifts we give our children bring them joy and wisdom. 
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Chanukah! Happy Kwanzaa!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quvenzhané Wallis Hopes to Reach Young Readers With Her New Books


Quvenzhan√© Wallis the 12 year actress who has starred in the remake of the movie, Annie, and in the movies Beasts of the Southern Wild, Twelve Years a Slave, and the animated film, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet will now turn her talents to publishing.  Publishers Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers have announced that they have made a deal with Miss Wallis to publish a chapter-book trilogy and a picture book to be released between January 2017 and Summer 2018. The picture book will be loosely based on her life experiences and the chapter books will be based on the adventures of a spunky talented third grader. The talented Wallis who is the youngest actress ever to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress hopes to reach readers ages six and older. “Reading is very important,” Wallis said. “It allows people to form a visual experience in their minds of what is going on in the story. I hope all readers enjoy using their imaginations along with me and take a journey into my books.”

Dawn Davis, VP and publisher of 37 INK, a division of Atria added, “The characters Quvenzhane has portrayed have an alluring mix of self-possession and vulnerability. We look forward to her bringing that same electric combination to the page. We also hope these books will help expand the diverse array of voices in the children’s book space.” 

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture Celebrates 90 Years!



The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the most important resources  for information on African- American history is celebrating its' 90th Anniversary.  If you live in New York or are visiting Harlem this is the place to introduce young  people to the rich cultural heritage of people of African descent. They offer a Young Scholars program for young people and educational programs for educators.

The Center was started with the collection of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg,  an Afro Puerto Rican who was challenged to start his collection when his teacher told him Africa had no history. Throughout his life he collected books, art, photographs, slavery narratives, and founded a historical society on Africa.  Now one man's dream has been been a source of wealth and information for many generations. Scholars, students, writers, artists, activists have flocked to the center to be inspired and informed. As a young girl I was introduced to the center, and as a student I spent hours pouring over fascinating stories on African American culture.  The Schomburg was also where I first met Langston Hughes.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Doc McStuffins Goes to Washington




First Lady Michelle Obama joins Doc McStuffin as an animated character for the upcoming episode of “Doc McStuffins Goes to Washington.” The episode premieres Monday, October 5 at 9AM on the Disney Channel for Child Health Day. Doc McStuffin who fixes broken toys in her backyard playhouse clinic will be invited by the First Lady to make a difference in her community.  Fans of the series will later see her honored in a special ceremony, where the First Lady appoints Doc to official “toy doctor” for the White House.

Child Health Day is a United States Federal Observance Day observed on the first Monday in October. On Child Health Day the president invites "all agencies and organizations interested in child welfare to unite on Child Health Day in observing exercises that will make the people of the United States aware of the fundamental necessity of a year-round program to protect and develop the health of the children of the United States." The holiday was enacted by Congress in 1928, and was first celebrated on May 1, 1929.

See "Doc McStuffin Goes to Washington" starting on Monday, October 5 at 9AM on Disney Channel and at 7:30PM on Disney Junior Channel.