A Dedication to My Diddy

I’ve been owned by a fat, black cat named Diddy for 13 years and I love him very much but I’m saddened by the fact that he’s getting older. Because that means he won’t be a part of my life anymore and it hurts acknowledging that. I wished that our fur babies had the longevity of us humans but that’s not the way Mother Nature created the world. So I’m going to enjoy my time with him and love him. My old man🐈‍⬛🐈‍⬛🐈‍⬛🐈‍⬛

My Syllabus If I Became A Professor

This syllabus was created the spring of 2006 when I was a senior in undergrad and was contemplating going further and getting a PhD. Enjoy.

The African American Woman 350/450

Department of African-American Studies
T Th 12:00 – 1:30p.m.
Room 434 – Auditorium Building
Roosevelt University: Spring 2007
Instructor: Kathy M. Henry

Email: kathyhenry10@sbcglobal.net

Phone: 312 341-8260 Office Hours: Wednesday & Friday 12:00pm – 2:30

Course Description:
The African American Woman is an upper-division course for three credit hours in African American Studies. The purpose of the course is to offer an insight into the complexities of being a Black woman in a culture that has a deeply profound contempt for all women and has placed the Black woman at the bottom.   We will critically read several works of literature to explore how issues of race, gender, and class are at play in African American society and in exploring these issues, develop opportunities for resistance.

Texts (required, available at Roosevelt Bookstore):

Cole, Johnnetta Betsch & Guy-Sheftall, Beverly.  Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African-American Communities.

Davis, Angela & Hinds, Lennox S. Assata : An Autobiography

Merriwether, Louise. Daddy Was a Number Runner

Souljah, Sister. No Disrespect

In Addition:
* Four Computer Disks- one to serve as a back-up for your work, the other to be submitted to me with your typed assignments.

Course Requirements and Grading Policy:
Final Course Grades will be determined on the basis of class participation (100), four 5 page reaction papers (50 points each) and an 10-15 page final research paper (200 points). All assignments are to be typed according to APA guidelines. The reaction papers will analyze the four readings in the syllabus and the final research paper will be a biography of an African American female figure of your choice. Also, all cell phones must be turned off prior to class.

Grading Scale:
500 – 450 (A)

450 – 400 (B)

400 – 350 (C)

350 – 300 (D)

299& below (F)

A Different Lens

As you get older, there will be events that will change your perspective on life and after those events occur, you will never be the same again. How do I know this? Because this is me.

Three years ago, I was a totally different person but since then, I’ve dealt with the loss of my brother, friends, and health issues. It’s been times when I didn’t know if I had the strength to continue but I did thank goodness. But now I look at life through a totally different lens than I used to. I’ve become less concerned about the opinions of others and my tolerance for foolishness is in the gutter.

I used to love cruising the social media streets, dropping snarky comments but now I just don’t care anymore. Now when I get on the social media, I just see a bunch of desperately unhappy people who have created an alternative universe in which they are powerful despots when in reality, the only control that they have is their ability to block people who don’t agree with them. It’s sad really when you think about it.

Looking at life through a different lens is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because you learn what you will not tolerate. It’s bad because you become more cynical, more bitchy, more likely to give another person a piece of your mind and it won’t be pretty.

The Art of Aging in a Culture That Worships Youth

If the lord is willing and the creek don’t rise as the elders used to say, I will be 52 years old in November and what an amazing journey it has been. I have experienced so many trials and tribulations during my time on this planet. From childhood sexual abuse, domestic abuse, poverty, loss of family and friends, I have been through it all and not only managed to survive but thrive in a society that wasn’t created for women who look like me.

Ignore the chaos and books and look at this old broad

It has not been an easy ride at all but I am here and grateful because too many people I loved didn’t have the privilege of growing older. The two little girls I used to play with as child who died in a fire. My brother who died on his 34th birthday. My cousin who died at the age of 46. My aunts who died at 37 and 48. My three sister-friends who died at the ages of 45 and 48. So many others in the world that I never knew but who were also loved and missed dearly by those who loved them.

However, what is so weird to me is how people in this culture don’t respect the elders and look at them with disdain and contempt. Make fun of them because they are still alive. Laugh at their wrinkles and gray hairs. Their sagging skin. Signs of living that should be considered a badge of honor instead of a curse.

It’s like the very act of getting older is something to be ashamed of and people get a thrill out of shaming the elders. As if their asses aren’t going to get older one day if they are that lucky and blessed. I guess these types of people are taking a magical fairy dust that is going to keep them from turning 40. Hmm.

This culture makes it seems like getting older is a bad thing when all it means is that you survived and have a story to tell. But so often, the voices of the elders, particularly those of the crones are shouted down and silenced. Why? I think it is because knowledge is power and gaining knowledge is a part of the aging process although some older folks are still chasing their youth and their brains have stagnated unfortunately. But it’s a lot of elders who have valuable information and y’all better listen.

Like older women. We have a ton of experience when it comes to relationships and men but often when a crone attempts to give advice to a younger woman concerning a man, for the most part, she is ignored, screamed at, and told that she is just jealous because her ass is old. As if older women in this current culture have anything to be jealous of. I am in these social media streets and see clearly what is going on in the dating field. A bunch of entitled, whining ass men, both old and young and parched, silly ass women looking for male validation. I ain’t jealous of shit boos.

In May of this year, I became a grandmother again to an absolutely beautiful brown baby boy. My widdle widdle brown sugar booga man. I’m so grateful that I have lived long to see three generations descend from my lineage and I am proud as fuck. And I hope to live long enough to see more grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There is nothing wrong with getting older because as I stated earlier, that means you survived and have a story to tell. So stop being ashamed for getting older and start cussing folks out who say something slick about your age. Fuck them and keep living.

Music is the Answer

When Music Told a Story

I’ve always been of the belief that music is food for the soul. Music nurtures your spirit, soothes your mind when you are feeling low, makes your heart sing with joy, and shake your ass with glee. But just like processed foods are not good for your body, trash music is not good for your emotional energy.

The Black collective is a hot mess for a variety of reasons and although some will not agree with me, I believe that music is playing a huge part in its continued dysfunction. When a steady stream of garbage music is marketed to the masses, it’s eventually going to affect the psyches of people who aren’t able to fight off the madness and as a result, so many people are miserable as fuck.

It makes me sad that no love music is coming from the current Black collective of musicians. Just anger, pain, and more pain. I know that life isn’t a fairytale but damn. And let’s not talk about the lack of singers who sang from the bottom of their hearts and the pits of their souls. Voices that could bring you to tears and brought chills to your spine. Now it’s a bunch of whining voices belonging to singers who all look alike. No individuality at all.

No those days are gone and the Black collective is suffering because of it. Music historically has been a part of our history since we brought here as chattel. Music keep us sane while we were toiling in the cotton, sugar cane, tobacco plantations of the South.

We sang in the Black church which used to be the finishing school for Black musicians. Singers from Aretha Franklin to Whitney can all trace their careers to the Black church. Religion has major issues but no one can deny that the Black church throughout history has played a major role in the music industry and now since Black folks have turned away from the church, the industry is suffering.

So who is the blame for this lack when it comes to Black music? Us. We sold out our culture for trinkets and now we have a major dearth when it comes to music. So the madness will continue.

Grief is a Weird Thing

Behind the smile is a multitude of emotions

Two years has passed since my brother died, and I’ve experienced a multiple of emotions ranging from the deepest despair to raging anger and anxiety. But lately, I feel myself turning into someone who doesn’t give a fuck about too much of anything.

I mean I love my children, grandchild, and my future grandchild to be. My friends and other family members but I’m not getting any enjoyment from life and it scares me at times. Because you can’t walk around not giving a fuck about anything. Or can you?

Honestly it’s easy to not give a fuck about stuff because the vast majority of people in America are dumb as a box of hair. Consumed with celebrities and other superficial mess while their way of life is burning to the ground. I just be sitting back watching these ninnies fight and argue with strangers online about celebrities who wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.

But I’m not going to lie. It scares me to be so apathetic about life now because by nature, I’m a passionate woman filled with fire. And I want that fire back instead of being the ice queen I’ve become. I’m praying for that day when my sense of optimism and joy about living comes back. Pray for me too.

Grief

Next month will be the anniversaries of my brothers deaths. Both of my brothers died in the month of February three days apart, one on the 7th which is ironically his birthday and the other one on the 10th. How morbid is that? Quite actually so I’m not in a good space right now but somehow, someway I manage to persevere. Despite of the pain, the sorrow, the never ending grief.

Some days are better than most. When I FaceTime my grandson and see his happy, smiling face alight with the joy of seeing his granny.

When I’m curled up in the bed with my cat and I can feel him purring loudly in contentment on my lap while I read one of my many books.

When I’m on the phone cackling with my best friend and we reminisce of days past, when we were young and carefree running wild.

When I’m talking to my children and listening to their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future, feeling blessed that they feel comfortable enough to confine in me.

But even with being surrounded by so much love, I feel so lost. It’s not an easy burden being the last one alive from your original family. At times, it feels like a horrible dream that I’m eventually going to wake up from and then it hits me that this is my new reality. And I have to deal with it whether I like it or not. So I wake up every morning grateful to see another day and at the same time filled with sadness. As time goes on, I know that it’s going to get easier but right now, it’s rough.

Violence, Mayhem, and Chicago

My family migrated to Chicago during the 1940s and they told the most marvelous stories of living here during that era. From dranking at juke joints in Bronzeville to eating the good cooking at various Black owned restaurants scattered throughout the city. Then I have my own stories of growing up on the South East Side. Memories of hot summer days, running through open fire hydrants and buying icee cups. But I’m starting to hate the city of my birth because of the violence. It’s barely two weeks into the new year and it’s already bloody. Pregnant women getting shot down like dogs. What the fuck is going on!!!!

It’s something sinister in the streets of Chicago. Its become a place where life has no value and anyone can become a casualty of thugs. Believe or not, it was actually a time in Chicago when the elders, women, and children were considered off limits to gang bangers but something changed in the 90s. The thugs decided that anyone could get this heat and and since then, Chicago has become a cesspool of ignorance and violence. And Black folks in this city have no one to blame but themselves because they coddled this shit. Nurtured this shit in the name of racism instead of looking in the mirror. White folks aren’t coming into neighborhoods such as Englewood and South Shore where violence is a daily ritual. Nah this is strictly a Black thang. Black people are committing these crimes and Black people are protecting these criminals.

If it wasn’t for my grandson and future grandchild, I would move to Las Vegas and never look back but I have to be an integral part of my grandchildren’s lives. I have to live near them, see their faces up close on the regular. Touch them and sniff them like a mother cat does to her kittens. So for now, Chicago is where I’m at. I’m praying for the day when this madness will disappear.

Why I still live in Chicago

Reclaiming Joy in Your Life

The Sociological Imagination

I majored in sociology in college because it made sense after reading the first paragraph of the textbook I had been assigned. I had been a sociologist my entire life but didn’t know it.

When I was a little girl, I used to go to work with my mother during summer vacations and we would take public transportation. I always noticed that everyone would go through the same exact turnstile when we got to the train station, although it would be several that would be empty. That never made any sense to me because why stand in line when it was another turnstile available? Ugh humans but despite of their flaws, humanity is utterly fascinating to me.

Due to sociology, the social media, and aging, unfortunately I’m noticing that people are pathologically unhappy and it makes me sad. Because life is so short and it’s precious. Everyday you wake up is a blessing and a new opportunity to start over again. Who wants to wake up mad and miserable all the time? Not me.

Childhood memories

For this new year, I’m hoping that everyone claims their right to happiness and joy. I would have thought that living through a pandemic would have awakened some people but it hasn’t. Be happy and love the people in your life. Love them with all your heart and soul. Because at times, life can be rough as hell and you never know when the grim reaper will be knocking on your door. Reclaim your life from misery and have a grand old life.