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I got work to do… I gotta job, baby— Vanessa Williams

It’s one of many favorites from her. I remember that video vividly. Wanted to feel empowered and embody the same sense of independence. Feel important. Understood the importance of telling someone I got work to do. However, later in life, I’d find out “work” was mostly about being busy. Nothing involving impact, outcomes, or results.


The word sometimes taste sour in my mouth. I have a love-hate relationship with work because it’s not taught as a fluid concept — that’s the part I learned later in life.


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Honestly, I believe there’s a collective confusion about why so many Black folx aren’t enthused that Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday.

Even the most progressive of Black folx probably see this as a “win,” when really, it’s just another way to commodify, gentrify, and co-opt another Black tradition.

Kwanzaa may be the only one left untouched.

Though most companies may not recognize Juneteenth as “paid time off,” for the white folx who work for companies that do, I challenge you to reflect on what it really means for you to have paid time off on a day that…

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I hung onto that phrase for decades — sexually liberated.

Went back and forth about the meaning. Did my best to discover what it looked like for me with all the examples I saw — media and community alike. For years, I talked about being sexually liberated at a hyper-local level. Shared my findings and understandings. Tried to approach it from a spiritual level, but the results all rendered the same.

Backlash. Hate. Demonized. Fetishized.

The sexually liberated movement is a continuous uphill battle with people slicing and dicing the meaning to accommodate it to their value palate. However, when…

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I see you, sib.

I know what it feels like to have all the puzzle pieces come together and prematurely share them with the masses. It’s a challenge to sit on so much information and process it without a group around. That’s the reason for therapy. Can’t process all these downloads alone.

The thing is, wagging your finger at the collective will not help you process all the right-wrongs faster. And know a finger wag when I see one, cause it used to be me.

I remember when my intuitive gifts unlocked. It was mind-fuck after mind-fuck, and I unloaded…

A reflection on Heaux Tales and heaux culture

heaux tales cover art / RCA

I let it sit with me for a minute — Heaux Tales, that is.

So much noise around the album brought a bunch of conversations and think pieces, as it should. But I needed to let the words and musical artistry marinate with me before I provided some clear thoughts.

The album is phenomenal, in my opinion.

A classic, if you will, in the wake of what I believe to be the precipice of another femme-led sexual revolution. Come back to this article in about six months.

I believe Heaux Tales to…

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Black trauma porn disgusts my voyeuristic nature. Assured this “fuck” is not the erotic experience I desire. It continues to desecrate my timeline with its sacrilegious earth offerings and I promise, involuntary martyrdom is not a worthy sacrifice, nor is it activism.

However, those who control the media will convince you this is fact.

And while pain can be a beautiful thing, ingesting it in copious amounts is a numbing agent to make viewing the death of Black bodies a bearable torture.

Seeing myself slain across the inter-webs will never be bearable. …

Hippolyta and Beyond C’est / photo credit: Ei Ysar for HBO

Name yourself… Our elders urged us to be careful about what we answered to, because that’s what people would call us. Episode 7 of Lovecraft Country, titled “I Am,” is the perfect self-actualization piece. In the latter half of the episode, we see Hippolyta portal to what could be a second Earth and come face-to-face with a Garnet-inspired Beyond C’est, who demands Hippolyta name herself.

Not sure what to proclaim; however, there’s no question she longed to be on stage in Paris with the beloved Josephine Baker — a symbol of her living out her most sacred dream with a…

And I know what you’re thinking…

So many of our fathers, stepfathers, “surrogate” fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and cousins do extraordinary shit daily. They’ve beaten, defied, and transcended the odds. It’s honorable, amazing, and definitely makes what their accomplishments superhero-ish; however, tacking that label on them only adds to the pressure already embedded in their psyche.

When I think of superheroes, I don’t rely on fantasies. I’m reminded of the show The Boys and what a superhero status truly means. …

At least, not the way you define it.

At 3 AM, I let my ancestors speak through me and they told me to tell you the “bigger person” is a passive approach.

For years, my ancestors witnessed their brothers and sisters choose being the bigger person and it did nothing to evade them from being whipped and humiliated. So they took action and redefined what it meant to be a person who is big.

Wonder if remnants of the “bigger person” manifested in Bigger Thomas? That Native Son who became a product of his environment. Socioeconomic injustice is nothing new…

photo credit: Jessica Felicio/Unsplash

I don’t recall ever having a plan.

Watching Elena and Lexi in Little Fires Everywhere, reminded me of all the girls in high school (Black and white) who had a “plan.” I went to catholic school and our religion teacher made it a senior project to map out… the plan. Luckily, I transferred schools and avoided sharing a premature vision. Back then, I didn’t want people to know I didn’t have one because it’s what everyone expected. They expected me to have my shit together. …

ShaVaughn Elle

Penning what inspires me to inspire others.

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