I was born, raised and still live in Alabama. Not just anywhere in Alabama, but in Mobile. Mobile, Alabama, where beautiful beaches are just a short drive away, the food is delicious, and oh...the last recorded slave ship made its way onto our shores as the result of a drunken bet. This is just about as Southern as it gets. 

well...if you don't count Mississippi. That's a whole different level of...uh...yea. Lol.

Moving right along...

For as far back as I can remember, my mother made it very clear that as a Black woman I would have to be put in double the effort of my White counterparts in order to receive the same amount of recognition. Some of you reading this may not agree with what she said or that I should have been told that when I was so young, but it has been my reality for most of my life.

Yes, I have some amazing friends of different races (not a real thing), nationalities (a very real thing), and cultures (the realest) that have shown me nothing but love. But in the grand scheme of this American life, our journeys are not and may never be the same.

That is, unless you are of any type of African decent and live in America. 

My friend Esther is Haitian-American. 

Here, she's a Black woman. 

My ex-husband is Belizean.

Here, he's a Black man. 

My friend Marie is Nigerian-American. 

Here, she's a Black woman. 

My friend Heather is half of European decent (a nice little mixture of a lot of nationalities lol), and half of African decent. 

To most of the world, she's just another Black woman preachin' about Jesus. 

We are all lumped together and our cultures are often ignored unless they can generate revenue. This is something I've always know. It's a truth my people have lived with our entire lives. I know most of my White friends can make a similar claim because we often don't take the time to call someone Irish-American; they're usually just White. However, the difference is that this usually works in their favor. 

As we gear up to celebrate the freedom of our country from British rule tomorrow, we would be remiss to not recognize that the overall freedom of the Black community in America still has a long way to go. I think many of us are guilty of spending so much time celebrating the undeniable beauty in how far we have come, that we don't take the time recognize the mental and political chains we are still in. We have allowed ourselves to be blinded to the reality of our still very real oppression as we were taught to focus on the means of advancement "they" have told us we can have access to: higher education when able to overcome the very poor school systems many African-American come from, consistent hard labor professions that deteriorate our health, limited mainstream entertainment in which we degrade our own heritage in exchange for a spotlight, etc. 

Then, the 2016 BET Awards happened. 

And Jesse Williams spoke

And the world was forced to open our eyes to some truths that even Black America had been willingly ignoring for quite some time. 


"We are no longer interested in conditional freedom. We want the freedom that we damn well deserve and we want it right now." - Jesse Williams

I pray the "Future"-generation who watched the BET Awards just for the music understands just how much of the actual future they really are, and what the actual message was. Beneath the fire and water, on the other side of the glitter and sparkle, there was another rhythm. Not one that could have been nominated for an award that night, but the hypnotic pulse of a heartbeat of a People. Forget the propaganda-painted, Hollywood activism you've been witnessing and hashtagging, but put your ear to the Spirit and feel the tug in your gut to do something.

To surrender to Him, be strengthened by Him, and stop putting up with the foolishness from them.

No, "them" is not a race. It's a system. It's something that has been masquerading as freedom and democracy and equality and whatever else that sounds good on paper. Stop only being free on paper. We stopped having to present our freedom papers a long time ago, yet many of us are still moving along in life as if we have to ask for permission to be great.

Be great. 


Ashley Danielle


/// So what are your thoughts? Let's chat in the comments.