A Letter to Serena Williams

Dear Serena,

I am not a fan, I am a student.  I am learning so much from you.  Black Girl Magic, I am still in aww of your magic.  When I look at you, I see you more than just a tennis player; you are a girl from Compton that just won’t stop.  I’ve come to realize that I have looked up to you and Venus more than I really known.  Growing up, my sisters and I would blow up a balloon and pretend we were you two and play “tennis” across my parents’ bed.  I used to think it was just tennis but it is more than that.  It’s more than proving everyone else wrong.  It’s more than winning.  It’s conquering everything that you know you deserve.  It’s being better than what your imagination can think of.

Within that, I say thank you for humbly being yourself.  I see you more than just the greatest tennis player, I see you as a strong example of a black woman who feels deeply passionate about something and doesn’t allow anyone to tell you that your passion is wrong.  But today, today I saw that it is okay to be emotional in front of others.  It is okay to not be seen as a rock allllll the time.  You tried so hard to keep your composure but your emotions was much more, even without words.  I am still learning not to be that rock all the time.  One shouldn’t have to rely on anyone to feel passion but I must say you sparked the passion in my heart for everything it is that I have always dreamt of.  I no longer want to dream about what it is that I want; I want to make it happen.  I am a girl from the Bronx, and I won’t stop until I am satisfied.

Thank you for being one of my biggest inspirations.

Queen on Queens; Queen on!

◊ Queen Bri ◊

Free Fall of Faith

You know the saying, “leap of faith,” right?

Well my experience was indeed a “free fall of faith.”

I was completely unhappy with my career, to the point of straight misery and anxiety when thinking of it. I stuck with it for 9 months when I knew week 1 that, this was not going to be a pleasurable experience.

Not to get into the details of things, but nonetheless, I left my job. My first full-time career after college, full health benefits, good pay.

Did I mention, I left without having another job?

I found myself turning down interviews because my current job demanded so much of my time, I couldn’t make the interviews. I also told my parents the day before my last day of work.

The awkwardness of sitting at the dinner table after letting them know. My dad completely silent. My mom starting into my soul. But then the reaction I received was relieving. They explained they trusted my decision as long as I thought about it and while I had the opportunity to do so.

I then got a job and with one of my old companies that I love sooo much. It was such a family just like I remember with the company but at a different property.

But then it happened.

The opportunity I’ve been waiting for and praying for. I applied for this company months back and got turned down but asked to come back for a new property opening up with the company. It was a 2 day process. Day 1, you were informed if you were invited back for interviews. I was invited back and then towards the end of day 2 they started calling names, mine was not called. But then they gave those remaining another task, put together a puzzle. The puzzle said, “hired!”

I kept my cool, but that night all I did was cry and smile, smile and cry. To think I took such a free fall by trusting in myself and my gut.

This is just to say, being 20 in this world now is HARDDDDDD. You feel as though you are suppose to have it all together while living your best life.  Just know you got this Queens! Trust your intuition and have faith in yourself; whatever your dreams are, no matter how far fetched they seem to look like, go for it!

Queen on Queens; Queen on!

◊ Queen Bri ◊

Trusting Her Timing

I’m learning to leave my worries with God while understanding that the action and effort is up to me.

The saying, “Let go and let God.” We must truly break down this meaning to our youth for no one broke it down clearly to me. There is such erudition in understanding that we must let go of our worries, struggles, doubts, and and form of negativity to God. For she will do her part. But we can not ask God to help up make it to the top of the mountain if we are not willing to climb.

Prayer + Faith + Effort + Will + Patience = Blessings in its most raw form

I am understanding that there can be no missing links in this equation. Additionally, I do not choose the timing of my blessings. I CANNOT ask God to put a move on it to answer my questions or to give me guidance to my pondering.

Our lives are already destined. Whatever our hearts are set on, whatever our goals, they are already ours. But what matters is the effort we put into them and allowing God’s timer to go off.

I once felt God was testing me harder than I deserved. It was like she felt I was stronger than I truly was. Wellllllllll let me tell you, silly me! Reflection made me realize that she was testing me at all. She was simply telling me that I can endure anything. The opportunities she gave to me and removed were not to tease, but to show me that I had the ability and will to get that far but that opportunity was not truly for me.

“You have to accept your fate; do it without bitterness and stay humble.”

Anthony Scaramucci

Humble was nowhere to be found in my body. Bitterness was all I knew at that point. My God does not believe in bitterness. However, my universe continues to turn. Time and patience taught me that bitterness will consume me to a point where that is all I will ever know.

Truthfully, I don’t know how that equation fell into my lap but once I applied it to my life, the universe exploded to recreate itself for me. I saw God smile at me. I felt the joy from my ancestors through my bones. I loved myself for my ambition.

—————————–

Hi God,

I just want to say thank you blessing myself, family, friends, and people I don’t know with the opportunity to open our eyes to see a new day. You blessed us with the opportunity to be a better us today than we were yesterday. I ask that you guide us that we are able to fulfill that opportunity.

I ask that today is a positive day for us all. That we love, we are loved, set goals, achieve goals, we smile, laugh, and give off the same positivity that we receive. I ask that you guide us all to know that your love for us is much stronger than the devil’s hate can ever be.

I just want to say thank you for all of my blessings, they never go unappreciated. I ask that you forgive me for my ignorance and arrogance when I do not understand that you are working on blessings when things are not going my way. I thank you for your patience and unconditional love. I ask that you continue to guide me in the right direction of the success of my life in every aspect. I ask that you continue to guide me to make the right decisions for now, the future, myself, and those in my life.

I ask that you continue to watch over my family, friends, and I that you protect us from all hurt, harm, disease, or perils of being the world.

I love you

(Kiss)

Amen.

20 Somethings

Prayin’ the 20 somethings don’t kill me, kill me – SZA

The phase in which we feel we are old enough to have it all together yet young enough to not have it all together. It’s the phase in which we are so lost in trying to find ourselves while trying to be the best daughter/son, sister/brother, friend, employee, student, mom/dad, and more.

Per usual, older generations complain about the 20 somethings of this generation.

“You guys disregard tradition. You feel you don’t have to get a job and work hard.”

“We all had to work jobs we didn’t like to make it and to support our family”

“You think living in your own little world is going to last.”

“I would’ve love to be a ______, but I didn’t have time. I did what I had to do.”

….I’m sorry, but I’m just a tad bit addled. What is wrong with living in my world of happiness?

Who says I have to work a job for 25 years that I don’t like? Society?

I will never put off what truly makes me happy for anything. When God blesses me with a family, I will support them with doing what I love and with what makes me truly happy. Tradition is how each individual perceives it. Our generation of 20 somethings have decided that working a 9-5 does not make them happy and that there is a different way of making things happen.

I LOVE and ADMIRE the 20 somethings that are so free and creative with everything that they do! Leaving their 9-5 steady job to say they want to travel the world to learn and teach yoga or whatever it is that makes them happy. Sometimes the “I don’t care mentality” is not a negative thing.

I don’t think we understand how deep some of our opinions can cut into the mind of others. We need to learn to mind what we say to each other at times. Not everyone has such thick skin to disregard the opinions of others. Your personal opinion may have swayed a multi-millionaire from taking the risk of doing what made them happy. I, myself, am learning to think about what words I allow to come out when people ask for my opinion on decisions. I never want to say something that will halt someone from achieving their dreams.

Sending all love to the 20 somethings just trying to make things happen the best they can. To those searching for themselves, finding themselves, healing, setting goals, achieving goals, and being unapologetically 20 something! Let the happiness in your heart guide your way.

.………………… Every 20 somethings’ stages are different ………………

This Sunflower is 21:

  • Finding self – Complete
  • Understanding Self – Locked
  • Solidarity – Complete
  • Healing – Always in progress
  • Happiness – Always in progress
  • Career – Loading
  • Full Self Love – Loading
  • Love – Locked
  • Spirituality – Always in progress
  • Freedom – Locked

We shall see what other stages come along. img_0060img_0059img_0061img_0058

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I AM READY FOR LOVE

I am ready to allow myself to be loved unconditionally.

I deserve the love I seek. There are no expectations to receive this type of love from anyone but myself.

Not to be misunderstood, I have given myself love and affection. But I have not given myself the love I DESERVE. I deserve to smile 24/7 until my cheeks cramp up. Laugh until I am gasping for air with tears rolling down my face and people think I need medical help. Dance until my legs are numb. Sing loves songs to myself, allowing myself to believe I have the voice of H.E.R. Allow my heart to melt within itself when I think of me.

A love like this does exist and I will hand it over to myself, wrapped neatly with sunflower bows on top.

I am allowing myself to love my awkwardness. The fact that I talk too much and don’t all at once. Love that I am a afrofuturist that loves to wear sweats everyday, listen to trap music while meditating and doing yoga, laugh at myself when I am alone, give my all in everything that I do, demand respect from anyone that enters my circle of life, talk to myself, have goals higher than one could ever think of, think too deeply into everything, learning how to handle my emotions, and that my flaws are my best qualities because they’re not truly flaws at all.

The world doesn’t revolve around me but my world does.
This is not to disregard the existence of others or to give all my love to myself only.

“They say true love’s the greatest weapon”

-Beyoncé

No one can ever love me the way I do. For they don’t understand me like I do.

And that, I am okay with.

I am ready for love.

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Queen on Queens; Queen on!

◊ Queen Bri ◊

What’s on my Travel Bucket List

Like many others, I love to travel!  Just think of all the beautiful cultures, people, architecture, natural scenery, and adventures we have yet to experience.  For me, I want to travel the world!  In the year of 2016, I traveled to 6 countries. 6!

Here are just 5 of the destinations on my travel bucket list:

  1. Morocco
    Morocco is a Northern African country that borders the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.  The official language is Arabic but many other languages are spoken like French, Berber dialects, Spanish, and more.  With holding a population of approximately 30,704,000, Morocco is a growing tourist destination.

    Morocco is known for its diversity of traditions, religion, and natural landscapes.  In particular, I would love to ride a camel into the sunset in the Merzouga Dunes.  I also want to have the ultimate photo shoot in the blue streets of Chefchaouen.  Most of all, shop in their large markets and buy tons of spices!


  2. Thailand
    Thailand is a Southeast Asian country known for its tropical beaches and grand palaces.  It is about three times the size of Florida; slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming.  With a population of about 68,200,824 people Thai is the official language spoken by 90.7% of the population.  Burmese is spoken by less than 2% of the population and English is a secondary language to the elite.

    I want to travel to Thailand mainly because the culture grasps me greatly.  I want to visit the beautiful temples that are in Thailand such as Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaeo (the grand palace).  I also want to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery that graces this country.  Thailand is also a home to a large number of ELEPHANTS! (My favorite animal in the whole world!)


  3. Australia
    Australia is located between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific with the population of approximately 22,992,654 people.  Several languages are spoken such as English (most dominant language), Italian, Mandarin, Arabic, Greek, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and more.  I personally did not know so many languages were spoken in Australia – you learn something new everyday.

    Personally I want to connect with the aboriginal native peoples of Australia; I want to know their culture because it is so shocking to me that these people are completely disregarded.  I always wanted to learn how to surf and where is a better place to learn?  I also want to hike the various national parks.  Australia is also known for their amazing zoos in which house koalas! KOALAS people!!


  4. Spain
    Spain is a Southwestern European country with a population of approximately 48,563,476 people.  Madrid being the capital city.  Castilian Spanish is the official language country wide but depending on regions, Catalan is spoken by approximately 70% of the population.

    Fun fact: I’m going to Spain by the end of the year! I am so excited because I know they eat bread with every meal and I can eat a good half a loaf of bread alone in one sitting (I love carbs and I’m proud).  I can’t wait to try all the tapas (small appetizers)  Spain has to offer.  They are known for being very laid back and not rushing; we shall see how that goes being a girl from the Big Apple city of New York.  I want to witness the famous flamenco and explore the beautiful coast of Spain.   Spain, I’m ready for you!


  5. Argentina
    A country located between Chile and Uruguay and a population of about 43,886,748 people.  Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina.  Spanish (official), Italian, English, German, French, indigenous (Mapudungun, Quechua) are all languages spoken in Argentina.

    I always wanted to travel to Buenos Aires and explore its vibrant scenery; it is known for having a bohemian feel.  I also want to be able to visit to one of the world’s last advancing glaciers, Glaciar Perito Moreno.  And how can you travel to Argentina and not go to a fútbol game?

These are only 5 of the thousands of destinations I will travel to.  Tell me what’s on your bucket list?

Queen on Queens; Queen on!

◊ Queen Bri ◊

Queen Njinga Mbandi

 

A Queen You Should Know

Njinga Mbandi was known under several names throughout her life and throughout history itself.  Her several names were Nzinga Mbande, Dona Ana de Sousa, Zhinga, Ana de Souza, N’Zhinga, and Jinga (Confederation).  Njinga got her name from her mother’s umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck at birth; “kujinga” in Kimbundu means to twist or turn (Confederation).  Queen Njinga was born in the year of 1583 in Ndongo Kingdom; there is no month or day available of her actual birth.  She was the ruler of the Mbundu and Matamba people of Angola for several years, even until her death in 1663; she was in her eighties and died peacefully (Snethen).

The Mbundu people created the Ndongo Kingdom in which was ruled by King Ngola at the time; the country’s name, Angola, derived from King Ngola (Mbundu).  Mbundu is also known as “Kimbundu.”  According to Britannica, they are the second largest ethnolinguistic group in Angola; the language spoken is Kimbundu, in which is a Bantu language.  The Mbundu control more so of north-central Angola until this day (Britannica).

The Portuguese began exploring further into Central Africa to expand their colonization.  They changed geographical direction due to the English and French threatening their monopoly of slave trading along the West Coast of Africa (Snethen).  The African West Coast was the main trading center of enslaved Africans.  The Portuguese were moving in to attempt to colonize Luanda.  Luanda is the current capital of Angola, founded in 1575; it is located in the northwestern region of Angola.

In order to control Luanda, the Portuguese attacked the Ndongo Kindgom and many of their trading partners.  This strategic move gave the Mbundu people nowhere else to turn except to the Portuguese (Engle).  A Portuguese port was established in Luanda in 1617.  This established settlement added fuel to the fire of anger and hostility.  There was an attempt to calm the hostility between the Ndongo and the Portuguese.  The Portuguese Governor, Joao Corria de Sousa, wanted to meet with King Ngola after running him out of his kingdom and taking thousands of his people prisoner (Snethen).  King Ngola sent Njinga to the negotiation (Engle).

King Ngola was seen as weak to his people due to him falling to the Portuguese.  He then committed suicide, in which left the kingdom to Queen Njinga in 1624.  He only ruled for seven years (Confederation).  “Other accounts claim Nzinga [Njinga] poisoned her brother, or murdered her bother’s son, the heir, after Ngola committed suicide, in order to seize power” (Engle).

One of the most talked about events during this time was Queen Njinga’s first meeting with the Portuguese.  “In the first set of meetings Nzinga [Njinga] sought to establish her equality with the representative of the Portugal crown.  Noting that the only chair in the room belonged to Governor Corria, she immediately motioned to one of her assistants who fell on her hands and knees and served as a chair for Nzinga [Njinga] for the rest of the meeting.”

Queen Njinga converted to Christianity and changed her name to Dona Anna de Souza to accommodate the Portuguese.  It was said that King Ngola committed suicide due to the Portuguese demands of submitting to the slave trade business (Snethen).  Queen Njinga refused the Portuguese’s demands.  She then took over a nearby Kingdom of Matamba.  She took Queen Mwongo Matamba’s army and joined it to the Ndongo Kingdom.  She also welcomed runaway slaves captured by the Portuguese to join her army to help fight in the war against Portugal that lasted thirty years.  Queen Njinga called upon all other tribes and kingdoms in Luanda that was controlled by the Portuguese(Engle).

Queen Njinga was known for her interesting army.  “She kept consorts men who were required to dress as women, and she trained her ladies-in-waiting as warriors.”  She also refused to be acknowledged as Queen, only as King (Engle).  Njinga believed greatly in female empowerment and strength.

Another strategic move that she decided upon was reaching out to the Dutch, whom were in competition with Portugal.  She proposed for them to join her army.  Although Queen Njinga’s army grew greater and stronger, it was not enough to defeat the Portuguese.  In order to defeat Portugal in a more strategic manner, she then started developing the Matamba and Ndongo Kingdoms as trading centers (Engle).  Queen Njinga successfully resisted the colonization of the Portuguese through her military tactics and strategic maneuvers. She was the first female ruler of the Mbundu people and created a Kingdom of success.

I personally have never heard of Queen Njinga Mbandi, but I have heard of the Ndongo Kingdom and the Mbundu tribe due to me finding out that I am part Angolan from a DNA ancestry testing.  Women who take charge as Queen Njinga did are truly inspirational to me.  Her willingness to take leadership in the time of need for her people remind me of myself, minus the poisoning and murder of family in order to take that leadership role.

Queen Njinga took no disrespect nor did she allow herself to be belittled.  In her first meeting with Governor Joao Corria de Sousa, she motioned one of her assistants to kneel on her hands and knees to provide her with a seat since the only seat in the room was for Governor Corria.  In a way, this was challenging Governor Corria; she may have been proving a point that she had more power because she had the power to make one of her assistants to bow down to her authority.  Governor Corria may not have had that power.  Queen Njinga showed the Portuguese that she was nor would ever be inferior to them.  She was a Queen and was going to be respected as such.  Many women in today’s society have forgotten their power and entitlement as queens.  Even after the death of King Ngola and his son, many including the Portuguese refused to acknowledge Queen Njinga as the ruler of the Ndongo Kingdom.  She proved that she was the crown by overtaking the Matamba Kingdom and creating it as her own, as well as how she led her army.  Njinga trained the women in her army as warriors; she held them to a higher position than she did for the men in her army.  Men consorts were required to wear dresses and dress like women; this was her example of proving a woman was in power by belittling the position and ideology of what a man’s power and/or authority is supposed to be.

Until this day, Queen Njinga is one of the most respected rulers of not only amongst the Mbundu and Matamba people, but of the country of Angola.  She was known to be a proud victorious woman from the meaning of her name.  She also seen first hand how to rule a kingdom from her father favoring her and allowing her to sit beside him during important meetings; he even took her to war with him, where she learned effective military tactics (Confederation).

The success of Queen Njinga Mbande reassured my beliefs that women need to hold themselves to a higher standard.  It is okay to lead and take charge regardless if this makes men feel inferior or lessens their ego.  Women are strong enough to be the creators of life, raise the children that will then lead the nation, therefore women can lead a kingdom.


References

Britannica The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.. 2016, Encyclopædia. “Mbundu.” Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 Sept. 2016. <http:// http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Mbundu.aspx>.

Confederation, Africa. “Kimundu History.” Untitled Document. Africa Confederation, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016. <http://www.blackpast.org/gah/queen-nzinga-1583-1663>.

Engle, KeriLynn. “Ana Nzinga Mbande, Fearless African Queen.” AWH. N.p., 12 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2016. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazingwomeninhistory.com%2Fanna- nzinga-mbande-fearless-africa-queen%2F>.

“Mbundu”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 13 Sep. 2016

<https://www.britannica.com/topic/Mbundu&gt;.

Snethen, Jessica. “Queen Nzinga.” Black Past. Black Past, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016. <http:// http://www.blackpast.org/gah/queen-nzinga-1583-1663>.