Beyonce and Jesse Williams Takes Black America to Church

Beyonce and Jesse Williams Takes Black America to Church

Black America rejoices for BET Awards highlights.

It very pretty much an annual event, me tuning into the BET Awards. I was probably even more excited that Beyonce, one of my all-time favorite musicians was performing. And while Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson did such a great job hosting, the two main highlights of the show was truly Beyonce and Jesse Williams speech.

Beyonce for many of you already dropped her sixth album Lemonade roughly two months ago. It was a mix of black feminism, coping with infidelity and black power. One of the songs that stuck in my brain and probably the one I analyzed the most was “Freedom” with Kendrick Lamar which she opened up the BET Awards with. The beginning leaves you in a trance as you start to hear excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr's “I have a dream” speech. The visuals were already stunning as you see Beyonce in a sparkly bodysuit with braids and her dancers with unique getups dance in the water. However what caught me was how she used her pipes to sing “Freedom” with so much conviction. The song is a testament to of the social and racial inequality that African Americans face in America from the time we came here as slaves to today as well. It feels like you're in church with the most powerful preacher. “Freedom Freedom I can’t move/Freedom Freedom cut me loose” are such powerful lyrics that touches your soul as an African American no matter your socioeconomic status. This was a very important highlight to me as it showed Beyonce, possibly the most powerful celebrity in the world and a black woman was using her platform to reintroduce black power and help better the situation of Black America.

Jesse Williams, like Beyonce, also has been making efforts to bring a change for African Americans. Williams for those who don’t know him, is a cast member of the hit ABC series Grey’s Anatomy. Besides recognizing him from the show and as an incredibly sexy man, I didn’t know much about his history as a humanitarian which is what he was awarded for this past Sunday. He went to Temple University and majored in African American Studies & Film/Media Arts. After graduated he began teaching African American history and diaspora. An opportunity to become an actor presented itself which got to where he is today. However besides that, he has been an activist participant in the Black Lives Matter movement, a member of social issues and civil rights groups. When he got up and gave his speech, it was beyond moving. He came off as assertive but not arrogant. He was informative and persuasive but not ignorant. Aside from mentioning the systematic racial injustice that results in black lives being taken at the hands-off policy, he also talked about black women and how they’ve done so much for us but don’t get credit. This hit very close to my heart, as I’ve seen for myself the marginalization of black women from black men who otherwise praise Caucasian girls. It’s okay to have a preference, it’s another thing to completely bash an entire race of woman who was with you from day one. One of the last lines he said in his speech is “The thing is... that just because we’re magic does not mean we’re not real”. Somehow it left me with ambiguity and curiosity to dissect that quote. After the whole speech, I for whatever reason realize that I would like to be with a man who not only has great looks but is smart and socially conscious at the same time.

You can tell from watching the news local and national, that this decade has not served African Americans well. Yes, we have Obama as president but our community has to deal with poverty, limited educational opportunities, being murdered by police and deranged white men as well as being marginalized on an everyday basis from a FOX News commentator or a politician. However like Beyonce has said we have to keep running. We’ve come too far and this what these two celebrities wanted our community and country to know.

Cover Image Credit: US Weekly/Billboard

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.

I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Arab-American Heritage Month Is Not A Well Known Celebration And I'm Pissed About It

I'm an Arab-American and didn't even know this was a thing... That's sad.


The month of April is special for a lot of reasons but this one hits home for me. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the culture, history and amazing people who have helped bring something to this country. So many Arab-Americans have contributed a lot to society yet they don't get the recognition they deserve for it.

In today's society, the Arab community is always being looked down on and degraded. The lack of understanding from those around makes Arab-Americans feel like outsiders in a place they should be able to call home. The inaccurate images and stereotypes that inhabit the word "Arab" are sickening.

It's time to raise awareness. It's time to look beyond the media's portrayal. It's time to see a neighbor, a teacher, a doctor, a scientist, an artist, an athlete, a parent, a child, but most importantly, a human being, NOT a monster.

Arab-Americans encounter and fight racism every day. As a society, we should be better than that. We should want everyone in this country to feel wanted, needed and appreciated. Together, we should use this month as a time to shine light and celebrate the many Arab-Americans who have, and continue making this country great.

While you read this list of just a few famous Arab-Americans keep in mind how much they want this country to be amazing, just as much as anyone else does.

Dr. Michael DeBakey, invented the heart pump

Dr. Elias Corey, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry in 1990 

Dr. Ahmed H. Zewail, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry in 1999

Lucie Salhany, first woman to head a tv network 

Ralph Johns, an active participant in the civil rights movement and encouraged the famous Woolworth sit-in 

Ernest Hamwi, invented the ice cream cone

Pvt. Nathan Badeen, died fighting in the Revolutionary War

Leila Ahmed, the first women's studies professor at Harvard Divinity School 

We should recognize and celebrate these achievements. There are so many things you can learn when you step inside another culture instead of turning your back to it. This April, take time to indulge in the Arab-American heritage.

Instead of pushing away the things you don't understand, dive into diversity and expand your knowledge of the unknown. Together we can raise awareness. #IAmArabAmerican

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