Weapons of (Mass) Protection

Taste Your Words

As much as I love words, I know all too well that they come in different shapes and sizes.


Some uplift, exalt, and send you to a place where only love resides.

But still, some have razor sharp edges, and others pierce like daggers right through the skin aiming straight for the heart.
The haunting effects of a simple phrase can hurtle through years and decades, catching up to you in your darkest moments.
These words come out of those who love you so much that they despise you.
Disfiguring as their words may be, the culprit behind the crime can take on  disguises so great that you never see the hurt coming again and again.
At first glance, you may think that there is no defense for the blinding effects of this weightless trauma–
You think that there is no shield against these people and their words– these sharpshooters of unbearable pain.
But as you begin to take inventory of your own arsenal, you may find that there, amongst the fallen arrows of your enemy, lay the hollowed remnants of your humility and gracious sensibility.
And maybe they look like they are too soft to repel bullets, too weak to defy sophisticated artillery.
But that is neither the point, nor the focus of the fight.
You see, the point should not be to match your opponent–
Your aim should not be to show him up–
The world does not need more bullets– no, no more guns.
Instead, with a cushioned glove, catch their razor sharp shards of broken glass.
Collect them, put them back together and show them the reflection of the hate they possess.
Catch the haunting echo of their hateful speech and force them to hear just how it sounds.
Hand them back the empty shells that once held their gunfire and let them inhale the aroma of death still inside them.
Only then will they learn how much their words hurt– how close they came to killing you inside.
And even if they don’t change– even if they still don’t understand– live content with the fact that God gave you weapons of MASS PROTECTION– and that the truth will live to haunt and wound them in a unique and special way– a way that will one day serve to also heal them from the inside out.
Know in your heart, they can’t kill you.
Though they always thought they were, God was always in control.
Note: I wrote this for my little cousin, who dealt with racism for the first time this week at the young age of eight years old. My cousin is a beautiful young lady with a bright future ahead of her and I want her to always know that she has something greater than foul words and loathing to fight back with. Of course, she already has an idea of this. This week, she faced hatred head-on, and handled it with immeasurable courage and strength of mind. However, grappling with my own struggles surrounding words that have hurt me, I decided to take to the blog again, to prove that words can heal as well.

When people hurt you– either strangers or loved ones–  it is only a reflection of how they feel about their lives and themselves. Sometimes it helps to show them that they are their own problem.
God Bless.

God Bless.

Louder Part 1

ImageHow do I turn up the volume on your passion?

How do I turn up the passion of your soul?

You don’t need any endorsements…

Just sound off, let the plot unfold.

I can see it plain as day….

Turn up, you say?

Turn up, I say.

They’ll only understand once you press play.

Tell me what your fears are, but don’t stop there.

Tell me what your dreams are, and let’s connect them at the tear.

We’ve been stabbed, shot, snubbed, then hung

We’ve been hurt too much to bear this song, still unsung.

Come here…let me tell you a story…

In the voice you should have by now.

If you weren’t so afraid…so heartbroken…this is how you would sound.

And when I start….

Don’t change the channel…

No…don’t turn me down.

Don’t hate me and don’t hurt me.

Embrace me and let me drown.

If that is my fate, then it was written before this sound.

So just sit…let me tell you something…

Let me tell you …

Let me give you…

Let me sound…

Fruitvale Station: A Personal Review

In three words, I found Fruitvale Station to be:

Raw, Thoughtful, and Provocative.
I’ll never know what it feels like to be a Black man in America, but yesterday, I came close. I sat just feet away from the screen, and for about an hour and a half, I was a witness to the events that took place that New Year’s Day over 4 years ago. And to be honest, I was broken-hearted. Crushed. My emotions were provoked to the point of tears, and I dare not wipe them, until I figure out my part in trying to stop the cycle of racial profiling and police brutality in this country.


This movie told the raw story of an African-American man who fell victim to both racial profiling and police brutality in the Bay area on January 1, 2009. The writer and director did not sugar coat the tale. He painted a picture that hurt to watch, but was easy to understand. It gave us an ending that broke our hearts, but also woke us up and charged us with a mission to mend it on our own. There was no story book ending, because you know the story didn’t end there. Until we do something as a society, it won’t even ever begin.

There are movies that only tell one side of the story. There are movies that slant its character depictions in a way that favors the “protagonist” and makes you hate the villain. But not this film. I didn’t walk away angry at the the Bay Area Rapid Transit officer. I didn’t walk away angry at anyone. This writer thought about everyone. He included both sides as being responsible for the events that occured. Instead of taking sides, he thought telling the story was more just. He knew the story alone would be enough. Enough to make us think. Enough to make us cry. Enough to make us act.


For 85 minutes, I sat there watching the heart- and gut-wrenching day in the life of this 22 year old, Oscar Grant. At times, I wanted to yell at the screen for him to stop, and rethink his actions. There were times, I shook my head, because I’d seen this before. In my neighborhood, in my schools, in my church. I wanted to protect him. I wanted to quiet his rage, I wanted to soothe his unrest– just like I would my brothers, my cousins, my uncles. I wanted him to be quiet, sit down, be cool. But then it was over, and I understood why he was so angry. I understood why he couldn’t hold his peace. I suddenly realized that he was born into a society that would give him nothing and then punish him for trying to survive with it. A society that would break him and then provoke him into a situation that would separate him from his family with prison walls and death. I understood that because, for 85 minutes, I was Oscar Grant. That is what Fruitvale Station did for me.

In today’s American society, we are so eager to point the finger. We want to blame the law, the law enforcement, or most often…the law offenders. And we want to do all this blaming from the comfort of our own homes. We want to crucify the world for our own inaction. That is, until its effects show up on our doorstep. Until its blood leaves a trail on our marble floors. THEN we cry over the death of our people, our faith and our power. But how can you watch the gun be locked and loaded and then shed tears when the trigger is pulled? Didn’t you see that coming? By law, doesn’t that make you an accessory? No? Why, what a tangled web we weave.

There is a mindset that needs to be changed. There is an apathetic culture that needs to be moved. There is a new generation that needs to be protected.

If you need a little nudge in the right direction– if you need a push to find your purpose, please go see this film.

Trust Your Tunnel

Claustrophobic, the darkness is maddening. The silence, deafening. Tears stinging my eyes, I struggle to remember how I got here. How had I ended up in this isolation, this three-dimensional state of turbulence?

I call out to anyone who might be within earshot. Hearing only an echo of my own voice, I resolve that I am completely on my own.

Raising my hand to touch the darkness, I realize that my clothes are damp, a cold reality check that things must be worse than I had feared. I reach out in front of me for any sign of a sound structure, anything to lean on.

I’m tired.

I’m hungry…I need food, I need normalcy, I crave any semblance of what my life used to taste like. Instead, I swallow the lump that has been slowly forming in my throat.

Up ahead, to the left of me, to the right of me, I am boxed in by the darkness.

Again, I reach out and this time, my hand brushes up against a gravelled wall. Although it is not a way out, it offers a route- a direction. It must lead somewhere. Hopeful that it will lead me to safety, I place both hands on the barrier and begin to move alongside it.

I walk for miles, for what seems like an eternity before I hear a familiar sound. Strangely, it sounds like thunder. One loud boom after another, and then a strong flash of light follows, illuminating my path for just a moment.

I begin to realize that I am in some kind of tunnel. My pace quickens as I am slowly able to piece together my surroundings.

I can still hear the powerful crack of thunder whipping across a distant sky. And now, indistinct splashes of what I believe are rain drops on flood waters begin to echo against the walls.

Confused, I keep moving toward the sounds. I feel a strong gust of wind and the smell of salt fills my nostrils and I can sense that the tunnel is coming to an end.

Fear pulsates through my body, but I hold fast to the wall, leaning my weight onto its gravelled surface, its sturdy walls my only barrier against the unknown world ahead.

Suddenly, the tunnel wall begins to run out, the wall becoming thinner beneath my hands as I continue to move forward.

Once again, fear envelopes my body, my legs almost buckle under the weight of my uncertainty.

I feel the tunnel come to an abrupt end and contrary to what I had heard all of my life, there was no light that I could make out. The lightning had even stopped giving hope.

I stand there for a moment before deciding that I have to keep moving. In that instant, the sky begins to open up, and a deep orange hue begins to spread across its face at my right, while the clouds rolled back to reveal a sheet of twinkling stars for as far as I could see in front of me.

Within minutes, the orange gives way to blue sky at my left, which began to lend itself to the indigo, violet, and red of a perfectly arched rainbow. In that instant, I began to see that all around me was destruction.

Flattened trees, flooded homes, broken roads, downed power lines, and worse.

I realize that my tunnel had not just been a trap–built to scare me, isolate me, or punish me. It had protected me.

It had been the only thing shielding me from the destruction of a storm.

The next time you find yourself in darkness, in isolation, in silence– be patient, keep moving, and trust your tunnel. For, it always exists for a reason.

And if, at the end, you don’t quite find the light right away, still, keep moving.

For God will show up at the right of you, His light whisper of assurance will eventually light the path before you, and life will re-create itself when it is safe to begin to rebuild.

In the meantime, trust, appreciate, and hold fast to your tunnel. It will be the reason you make it through your storm.

I Hope You’re Smiling…

Your smile is what I remember the most.

Come what may, the world was always your playground.

I remember trips to the park, rides on the Metro, and dinner at your place.


But most of all, I remember your smile. You were a lover, a nurturer, and a giver.


Your warmth could fill a room, your generosity could melt a heart, and your love could travel miles—across an entire country and envelope those that you held dear.


But the lasting legacy that you leave us with is your smile.

It is the memory of your smile that will get me through future trials that may come my way.


It is the memory of your smile that reminds me that nothing is greater than love and that joy comes from within.


Grandma, I hope that you are smiling down on us from your new heavenly home—and I pray that it never stops.


I hope that we make you proud enough to always, always keep smiling.

Know that we love you, we miss you, and we will never forget you. Your smile will live on in our hearts forever.


Keep shining your light, and we will find our way back to each other again someday.

Dedicated to a True Artist

When a writer births what he thinks might be his greatest creation, he is proud- he is so proud that he will do anything to make the work of art successful. He will go to painstaking lengths to make the words climb off the page and spring to life. He will jump through hoops of fire to make sure that the world knows just how brilliant his work shines. He knows that if one day, the world decides that it will love this creation too, it will be the writer’s finest hour- his dream finally having come true.

It might take years- even decades- for this creation to blossom- to reach its full potential. But a dedicated guardian of his artistry will be there for each impatient moment- for each premature budding of success. He will wait- all the time revising, correcting, and preparing for the time that he knows will come.

And when it finally comes, this carefully constructed masterpiece will have taken on a mind of its own. It will stand alone and prepare in its own way for the performance of a lifetime. In the moment before the curtain rises, fear undoubtedly runs through its mind. Fears of falling, fears of failing- fears of disappointing its creator.

But just as the fear begins to swell in its belly, and the words begin to swirl out of place- the plot becoming skewed and the angst blurring its opening lines-  there is the steady hand of the artist, the writer, stepping in to reiterate the premise- reminding the story of its purpose.

Much in the same way that a writer does these things for its finest work, I feel that my father created me- then prepared me for success.

He was the first man to call me beautiful, the first man to groom me, to sculpt me and leave an impression. He did it because he loved me, believed in me, and wanted nothing more than for me to succeed.

I felt that, when fear overcame me, all I had to do was look to him to remind me of the premise of life. He set the stage and let me tell my story.

He started out as the writer, became the director, but is finishing as my mentor, my friend and the first man to become the undisputed love of my life.

Today, I celebrate my Daddy. He is the one man that I can say that I am the most proud of. He is the hardest working man that I know. Always working hard at his skill- endlessly creating, perfecting, and inspiring others with his craft. I am so proud to be one of the creations that came from the depths of his heart.

I hope that all of the time that he has vested in my siblings and I will shine through in our performances- making his dreams come true. For he is my very favorite artist- and I am so grateful for how he has set the stage for my life.

I love you Daddy. Happy Birthday!