Holding Onto His Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13

In this blog, I write a lot about His love. God’s love. I am constantly learning about how much He loves me, and how much He wants me to authentically love others. Even though, I was raised in a Christian home, I still needed to discover this love on my own. In Fall 2004, I was in my first semester of college, and I decided it was time to turn up. I was little rebellious before I left for college, but I knew that being away from college would make turning up more accessible to me. I partied and got drunk a few times. Being drunk actually elevated me from my shy, nice girl status to cool kid. For the moment, I enjoyed hearing my peers’ compliments about my drunkenness. But the Bible is right when it states:

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22: 6

Perhaps, my partying, swearing, and drunkenness do not seem too “bad,” but I did not feel right. I believe that if I had continued to be a partier, it might have led to some other toxic choices.

But in October 2004, I went to a Gospel concert on campus that was hosted by a Christian student organization. I was surrounded by folks who were singing passionately about God. After the concert, I went to my dorm room and called my parents. I asked them to pray the prayer of salvation with me. They led me to Christ.

And I have been tightly holding onto God’s love for the last eleven years.

I wanted to share a video of my small rendition of “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan. Again, I am not a singer; I just like to sing. I blame it on several years of participation in school choruses.

How have you been impacted by God’s love?

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Friendship and Representation

Mone At School 001

(High school throwback! Before I went natural.)

I have a bad habit of scrolling through social media sites when I first wake up in the morning. One morning in September, I noticed lots of folks talking about an Apple Music commercial starring Kerri Washington, Mary J. Blige, and Taraji P. Henson. I ended up watching it, and I loved how it showed friendship and representation.

Friendship:

The commercial shows Kerri Washington and Taraji P. Henson arriving at Mary J. Blige’s house. Mary J. is playing some cool music, and the women have their own dance party in the living room. I do not know if these women are friends in real life, but the friendship that is shown in the commercial reminds me of my own friendships. As I watched these beautiful women having fun and grooving to old school music, I reminisced about the simple hangout times that I had with my high school friends.

My original homegirls.

In high school, our fun was laidback! In our group, we had a set of twin sisters, and we usually went to their house to chill. We would watch movies, eat Vietnamese food on the floor, chat about our latest crushes, or chat about Aaliyah’s music. We did not need a lot of money to enjoy ourselves; we just needed a space to relax. The Apple Music commercial brought me back to those high school hangouts when listening to music and sitting in someone’s living room sufficed. These times were before the distractions of our cellphones alerting us of a text or a Facebook notification. Hey, none of us even had a cell phone, and Facebook came out when we were in college.

I reminisced about the times where we walked around our hometown or jammed ourselves in our friend’s S’s car. It was actually S’s parent’s car, but she had both her driver’s license and access to a car. While we walked, my friends listened to me rap Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” Back then, I was obsessed with Eminem’s music. I was comfortable being goofy and dancing on the sidewalk. They laughed and shook their heads at my weak attempt to emulate the chorus of “Lose Yourself.”

One time when we were in S’s car, we sang raucously to B-52’s “Love Shack.” Some of us did not the words very well and some of us did not sing very well, but we enjoyed the song together. We let S drive us to wherever we were going.

I know the Apple Music commercial is selling a product, but I ignored the commercialism and focused on the splendor of friendship. Of three Black woman listening to various genres of music and rocking out.

Representation:

My eyes widen when I see positive images of Black folks in the media. These moments do not occur frequently. Black folks being portrayed as human beings. Human beings who go to school, work, and church. Human beings who hug their children and raise their children. Human beings who are trying to figure out how to love and how to deal with death.

I deem positive representation as important.

Yes, my eyes widened when I saw three beautiful, Black women sitting in a beautiful house, listening to music in an Apple Music commercial. It showed the humanity of Black folks and not the ways we can be portrayed as villains, criminals, absentee fathers, absentee mothers, etc.  Our God-given humanity, the same humanity that God has given all of us, was displayed in an Apple Music commercial.

Representation happens when talented Black female director and naturalista, Ava DuVernay directs the same Apple Music commercial. Ava DuVernay has directed films such as Selma and Middle of Nowhere. I have not seen Middle of Nowhere yet, but it is on my list of must watch movies. With my cousins, I saw Selma in the theater. The poignant scenes in this movie had me cry several times. It was challenging watching Black men and women being beat up and ridiculed. My emotions could not be still, as I thought about what Black folks experienced back then, and the subtle or not subtle racism they experience now.

I believe filmmakers strive to share a story with their audiences. Great filmmakers will force audience members to feel strong emotions. During Selma, I cried to the point that I wanted to yell, but I also smiled at the God-given strength of Black folks. The Apple Music commercial made me smile and laugh as these women listened to their favorite songs. I even wanted to join them as they danced and air drummed to a certain song. I had to watch the commercial several times, because it has such feel good moments. Friends, women, Black women playing music and socializing!

Ava DuVernay is a great filmmaker, as she can make a one minute commercial feel like it should be a movie or a television show.  This filmmaker definitely demonstrates to us that Black female filmmakers are important and needed!

Friendship and representation.

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