Money > Integrity: No Shame In Steve Harvey’s Game

#SteveHarvey: *has his wronged “sister” #MoNique on his show to interrupt, chastise, & lecture about the value of money over integrity*

Also Steve Harvey: *had disgraced racist (who used n-word & planned slavery themed wedding) on 2 of his shows & buck danced for her, literally*

#dontBSyourself

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‘Kisses 4 Christmas’: What Christmas Means To Mama & Me

Whenever I’m asked which song is my favorite of those I’ve written, my usual response is “that’s like asking a parent which of their kids is their favorite” or something to that affect. (Parents do sometimes have favorites btw, but that’s a whole other post.) That said, one of my songs does come to mind when I think of those that are nearest & dearest to me: ‘Kisses 4 Christmas,’ a Christmas soul ballad that I wrote inspired by Mama.

Years ago, I was invited by Millennium Music, a local (Charleston, SC) music retailer, to contribute a song to their annual Christmas compilation album. I was excited & honored to do it, but at the time I didn’t have a Christmas song. (Because I didn’t/don’t exactly celebrate Christmas; yet another “whole other post.”) I could’ve easily cranked out a formulaic ditty right quick & submitted it just for the satisfaction of having a song on the compilation, but artistic integrity wouldn’t allow it.

Then, in search of inspiration, I had a conversation with Mama about what Christmas meant to her… her words flowed through me. I wrote the lyrics in one session. She grew up on a sandy road in a rural Gullah village, a child well-loved but of modest means. As a wife of a hard-working but low-earning brick mason, she was never afforded many of the ‘finer’ (material) things &, though she & Daddy did the best they could to provide, she reminded me that the greatest gift she could ever receive was the one I cherished most from her: Love. That’s what Christmas meant to her & what ‘Kisses 4 Christmas’ means to me: Love.

I hear it in the vocal harmonies, lyrics, soulful rhythm & solo guitar my friend, @leebarbour, laid down… I felt it in my then sweaty palms & racing heartbeat as I sat, shoulders slumped, eyes to the floor, nervously playing it for the first time for Mama, hoping she’d like it. She loved it. I still feel that confirmation tugging at the corners of my mouth, forming a smile right now as I type these words.

I don’t have a favorite song of those that I’ve written, but I do have songs that remind me of some of my favorite moments. ‘Kisses 4 Christmas’ is one such ‘moment’ for me… Selah. Merry Christmas, Mama! ♡ #weoutchea

‘Harvard’ Goals… Breathe

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To those who’ve messaged me that my story inspired you or a loved one of yours to apply to @harvard, I am humbled by you and happy for you.

That said, I hope whatever sliver of inspiration I can offer isn’t relegated to Harvard-related goals alone. Your proverbial ‘Harvard’ mayn’t be here… your ‘Harvard’ may be that job you need, conquering an affliction, the inner-peace you seek, certification at your craft, health (be it physical or mental), to pin a demon(s) you wrestle daily, to be forgiven, to be accepted (as is), to pass the bar or simply bake the perfect soufflé.

Quiet as kept, not even my ‘Harvard’ is Harvard. Whenever I make Mama laugh, her laughter echoes through my lungs & I breathe pure joy. When Daddy says “love you, son,” I feel… completed… in a way that I could never find in the halls of Harvard. Yet, it comes full circle when I see the pride of me teaching at Harvard beaming on Mama & Daddy’s faces.

That is my ‘Harvard’… the one that will stay with me, even if I don’t stay here. Whatever yours may be & if anything I do or say helps you get there, my advice to you: breathe. Now, let’s git it! #weoutchea #gullah #geechee #harvard #harvardgoals #♡

TSA Asked Me If I ‘Earned’ My Harvard Beanie… and Instantly Regretted It

TSA: *takes my boarding pass, sees my Harvard knitted cap, gives backhanded compliment* “Nice hat, young man… did you earn it?”

Me: “Oh, nah, I bought it…” 😐

TSA: “Hmpf…” 😏

Me: “…with my Harvard paycheck… I teach there… two languages, six sections.” 😐

TSA: “Hmm…” 🤔 *sees my Harvard ID as I show my driver’s license* “Oh…” 😳

Me: 😐

TSA: “Wow, cool… nice… good for you.” 😁

Me: 😐

TSA: “Well, you’re all set. Have a Happy…”

Me: *ghost*

 — at Boston Logan International Airport.