In the T.V.

About a year ago while watching a random show on Nick Jr., my then 2 year-old princess looked at her daddy and me and said, “I want to be in the TV.” In an effort to fully understand her statement, my husband asked her what she meant. “I want to be in the TV, like that girl,” she said pointing. “Oh, you want to be an actor,” he said and she emphatically replied, “yes.”

So for the next week or so, we explain to her that acting is hard work. We tell her, it’s not all fun and games; that you have to be serious and practice. “What do I have to know?” she asks. “You have to practice different emotions, like happy faces or sad faces,” we say. “Well, watch this,” she says as she begins to rehearse her different looks.

After her performance and a week of her persistence, we spend some time researching agents and the industry. For the most part the age requirement is 5 and so it becomes a dream deferred and life moves on. That is, until last month when I received an email about an open call in my husband’s hometown. The movie is a story about “Box Brown” a slave who mailed himself to freedom. We put the date and time on the calendar and inform our rising superstar of her first open call. “I’m excited,” she says and all of a sudden we are excited for her.

Novices that we are, we think nothing else about it until the day before. Come to find out, there’s a process to this thing. We were supposed to send headshots, a resume and wait for an appointment time. Ooops, who knew, a resume for a 3-year-old, really? We put together a packet and email our apologies and ask for leniency. Ask and you shall receive, and we were given our appointment time for the next morning.

That night, we stay at my husband’s parents home, in an effort to be on time, and despite our absolute best effort, we are 10 minutes late. This is not how I wanted her first job interview to go. When we arrive and check in the nice registration lady informs us that the Director has called her name a few times prior to our arrival. YIKES…that can’t be good. Before we can settle into a seat and daddy and brother make it in from parking the car, a door opens and we are escorted inside. There’s an echo in the room and there’s a three-person panel and lots of lights and cameras.

“Hello, what’s your name,” he asks looking at my princess. “Morgan,” she replies. “Do you prefer Morgan or Morgan Elizabeth?” “Well, um, you can call me Morgan Elizabeth Taylor,” she replies. “What do you like to do?” he asks. “I like to draw pictures and play.” For the next five minutes, she sings songs, and answers questions in true Morgan fashion. On our way out, the Director explains the process and seems excited to have met her.

While she was dazzling the panelist on the inside, Baby G was wowing the waiting room and we were asked to have him go before the panel as well. And sure enough, the Director mentions a part he didn’t include for a toddler boy in an opening scene. So while my husband and I have absolutely no expectations, this was quite an experience and an opportunity for us to show our willingness to support our princess.

As for Morgan Elizabeth, she left her first casting call, happy, confident and with a sparkle in her eye.  She didn’t ask about a specific role, or compensation. Her only question was “so, when am I going to be in the t.v.?” So whether she gets a part or not, she is learning to be a person of action. I am proud that she took a step towards her goal, a lesson many adults have yet to learn. From a Chocolate mother and father perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that….mission accomplished!

 

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I Am Not My Hair

When I was in college in Baltimore, I saw an older African American woman in a business suit with the most beautiful gray locks I had ever seen. I decided then, that I too wanted to gray with locks. I thought she was elegant, funky and sophisticated. Although we never spoke; to me her hair spoke volumes. It said she had her own definition of beauty, that she was comfortable with her natural state and didn’t mind going against the grain. It’s interesting to think back to images that have changed or molded who we are or choices we make. I had forgotten about the woman and the statement until last week when a woman in the grocery store asked me how long I had been natural.

My canned response is five years and that I decided to go natural when I was trying to conceive my daughter. And while that is partially true, there was a lot more to it than that. Truth is, the idea was sparked from a complete stranger’s self-confidence. From there, it lie dormant in the back of my mind for some 15 years. As I struggled to conceive my daughter, I made a lot of changes. I changed my diet, I changed my exercise routine, I began regular acupuncture and anything else folks said might work. I was determined to whip my body into baby carrying shape. So I made up in mind that anything I wasn’t suppose to do while pregnant, I would never do again; including relaxers. I have since slacked up on this a bit, because I do enjoy a glass of wine.

Now for my non-chocolate mommies, let me explain that a relaxer is a chemical treatment to African American or tight curly hair that makes the hair straight or relax. It has long been said that a person should not chemically treat their hair in the first trimester of pregnancy.

In addition to health, I also have four nieces, the oldest of which is 12-years-old. Her mom and grandmother (my in-laws) and I spent many conversations talking about natural hair goals and what a positive message we would send my niece if we all did it together. And so we did. The perfect storm continued when my husband, who was always supportive, watched the movie “Good Hair” and kicked his support up a notch.

Now before some of my homies call me out, no not everyone was singing Kumbaya about my choice. But there were enough who did that the others were on mute. Besides, I’m pretty headstrong and once I made up my mind, it was a wrap. Speaking of wraps, so far I don’t miss them. I don’t miss relaxers and due to great natural hairstylists at Exquisite Trends in Greenville and A Double Look Salon in Wilson I don’t miss the versatility. My hair is healthier than it has ever been and I am excited about the natural hair phenomena reaching Eastern North Carolina. In fact, this Saturday August 25th I will be at one of several local events providing tutorials and support for those on the natural hair journey ( http://naturalhairlunchandlearn.eventbrite.com/ ).

But as pro-natural as I am, I think India Arie said it best, “I am not my hair” and I don’t think others are either. So whether you have a relaxer, an afro, or weave, do you. I am!

I Am Not My Hair

https://www.facebook.com/groups/encnhm/

http://naturalhairlunchandlearn.eventbrite.com/

http://dreadlockextensionsandmorebykeisha.webs.com/

Number 71

I was a football cheerleader in high school, and while I can’t remember a single chant I can remember learning the game. Our coach was adamant that we girls know the difference between offense and defense. So, while I never found it that exciting, I definitely know enough to follow. My husband is a die-hard Dallas man and we even took in a game for his birthday a few years ago as they played against Carolina. I grew up a Buffalo fan because that’s what my daddy was. Don’t judge me, just know that I am a real pro at supporting a losing team. So there you have it; that’s the extent of my football talk or so I thought.

A few months ago, my family dynamics changed and through some odd circumstances we became custodians of a 17-year-old young man. Having a teenager in the house has taken some getting used to and did not come without some painful transitions for all involved. But four months in, Morgan calls him her big brother, Baby G can say his name, my husband has help with the yard and I have a new title “A Rampant Mom.”

Our new inhabitant is a rising senior and plays football at J. H. Rose High School and he loves it. The boy, I mean, young man, eats, drinks and sleeps football. And to tell you the truth I was very annoyed at this time consuming new hobby of his. I mean, summer heat meant early morning and late evening practices. And since my teenager doesn’t drive, that means more lugging around than I bargained for and a whole new world I wasn’t quite prepared for.

So here’s what I’ve learned so far, male football coaches are very unorganized, at least off the field and should have an administrative person in charge of scheduling. Half the time, I have no clue when practice will be and after speaking to the coach; neither does he. I’ve also learned that teenage boys, stink. I mean, they really stink. I wonder if the water in the showers runs away? Oh yeah, and they eat; a lot. I don’t even make his plate anymore, I just leave him the pot.

But I’ve learned a few things about myself too. We had the pleasure of joining some of our friends for church on Sunday and had dinner after the service. At the restaurant our friends engaged him in conversation about football. “So, what position you play,” they asked and I responded “Defensive End and Offensive Guard.” What number are you,” they asked next and I responded 71. “When’s your next home game,” they egged and I responded August 17th against Havelock.

And then it hit me, wow I am more than a Rampant mom, I am a proud “mom.” Truth is, I can’t wait to see him play and I can’t wait to cheer for him during the game and I can’t wait to see Morgan and Baby G cheering for him too. So look out stands cause a Chocolate Mother is on loose.

Potty Mouth

I am sure you all have heard the phrase “cusses like a sailor.” Well, my daddy was in the Navy and he taught me how to curse. Now don’t judge him, that was old school parenting and his philosophy was to bring your “A” game, no matter what. “I’ll be damned if you go around not cussing right,” he said after catching me unintentionally throwing around curse words. There’s an art to it you know and I must admit that if put in the right circumstances it would probably be like riding a bike, daddy taught me that too.

But I made a decision to stop cussing when I was pregnant with my daughter. It’s amazing how easy you rid yourself of bad habits when you put your mind and your heart to it. I didn’t want to raise a potty mouth and I wasn’t going to contribute to such foolishness. So I intentionally surrounded my children with positive music, programming and people. The most my daughter has heard me say in the heat of a stomped toe is “Shoot.”

Last week, I half-heartedly read an article about what to do when you hear you child cursing. I’m not even sure I read it in its entirety because to be sure this does not apply to me. I stopped cussing, I monitor what they watch, what they hear and who’s around. Nope, not my problem, so I thought.

My husband’s family had a reunion last weekend in Myrtle Beach. The four hour drive with two toddlers wasn’t too bad going, but coming home was brutal. In the last leg of our journey, my daughter starts telling a story about a boy that was not being nice and out of nowhere refers to him as a jackass. So, of course I immediately address this situation and as I am telling her these are not nice words and asking where she heard that. She hesitates and says she knows it’s not a nice word and says she heard it in a movie.

“What movie?” “You know the one I watch all the time on my iPad,” she says. So I hand her the iPad and ask her to show me the movie, because I have seen them all before they were loaded on her pink case covered device. She scrolls for a few seconds and stops and says, “this one right here.” She then describes the scene almost verbatim when this phrase was used. Now the movie she talks about is The Game Plan, starring Dwayne Johnson – who has been dubbed the new King of Kid movies. And of course after she brings this to my attention, I know exactly the scene and can’t believe of all the things for this child to mimic, that the one curse word in the movie would be it.

It’s at this moment that I am humbled. Wow, did I really snub my nose at the parents in the article when I should have been listening? Hell yes. And did I really think that this issue was not of concern to me or my children? Uh, hell yes. And will I finish the article next time I feel it’s an issue that doesn’t pertain to my two little angels? You’re damn right!

My Superhero

For the most part my husband and I divide and conquer with the bedtime routine. I take baby girl and he takes baby boy. It’s efficient and it saves time, but it also makes it a treat when we get to switch up. Last Saturday night I was fortunate enough to see our son fall asleep with a smile on his face as he reminisced his first birthday party.

I am still in awe at just how quickly this year has flown by. It seems like we just brought him home from the hospital. He was quiet, slept well and smiled a lot. Twelve months in he’s not so quiet anymore, but he still sleeps well and shows his pearly whites to any and everybody. He also likes to eat and so far, he doesn’t really discriminate when it comes to his food.

We call him Baby G or Babba. He’s the youngest of seven grandchildren on my husband’s side and the only grandson on my side. His complexion is one shade lighter than a Hershey’s bar and he tastes just like chocolate. He has nine teeth, four on top and five on the bottom. He is almost 2 feet tall already and loves the ladies.He started walking a little after 10 months and is now diligently trying to master running and jumping.

The walls of his room are filled with images of black superheroes including him and his daddy and a fictional city with tall buildings and waterways. He sleeps with his Green Lantern and gazes at his mural often. He seems so comfortable in this environment so we stuck with superheroes to help us celebrate his 1st birthday. His guests all had capes, face painted masks and enjoyed meeting Mac Fury, Spiderman, Green Lantern and Captain America. Comic books and superhero cartoons were definitely not my forte’ so all of these characters, except Spiderman were new to me before Baby G.

In the grand scheme of things I have no idea how come traditional nursery themes like Pooh, sports, cars or safaris didn’t fit. Lord knows any of them would have been easier to execute. But I do know that superheroes normally use their powers to counter day-to-day crime and injustice while also combating threats against humanity by villains. They are brave. They are strong and they fight for what’s right. I can only pray those characteristics manifest in who God intends my son to be.

So, I doubt he will remember his first birthday party, but I am hopeful he remembers how I envisioned his future and I know for certain that I will always remember the smile he had on his face as he drifted off to sleep.