purpose

Am I really headed in the right direction?

Recently I keep finding myself wondering if I’m where I should be. I question my position in life and wonder if I should have gone about things differently. I find myself doubting the choices that I have made and begin to convince myself that I’ve made too many mistakes to be living right.

I add further insult to injury by focusing too much on how much I’ve lost instead of how much I’ve gained. How far I still have to go instead of how far I’ve actually come.

The irrational thoughts begin to spiral out of control as the nonsense begins to suddenly make sense. I become trapped in my own web of deceit.

It’s so easy to look down on yourself. It’s much harder to shift your perspective and look up to the power and strength that you truly are.

I find myself feeling angry at times without even really knowing why. But it is common knowledge that anger is a symptom of fear.

I realised that my fear stems from the ability to keep comparing myself to others and the inability to recognise the uniqueness that makes me the wonderful, motivated and aspirational woman that I am now.

I believe that the many questions and doubts are signposts towards an uncertainty as a result of straying away from where God needs us to be.

We have to learn to listen to the questions and let the answers that are revealed guide us back to centre.

Often it’s not obvious that we have strayed because where we end up can feel comfortable. But it’s only when we make ourselves uncomfortable that we truly experience real growth and change for the better. We were not built to stay the same forever. We have to let go in order to grow. We have to accept change in order to gain. We have to remain determined and strong in order to hold onto what we need and believe.

Everything that I have done, everything that I have seen, everywhere that I have been is rooted into my journey because it’s the only way that I could learn one of my life’s very important lessons.

I’ve never done anything that God didn’t need me to do. I’ve never seen anything that God didn’t need me to see. I’ve never been anywhere where God didn’t need me to be.

Every joy, every pain, every love, every shame, everything that has chipped away at me has shaped me into the person that I am today.

For this reason I can’t have any regrets. For this reason I have to accept that I am exactly where God needs me to be, seeing exactly what he needs me to see, doing exactly what he needs me to do.

I may not truly understand but it’s not my job to understand. My job is to have faith that in all things, God will bring me through and keep me close to him.

So the next time that you’re questioning why or wondering why not, remember to look within to analyse how much you need to learn about where you are so that you can apply that learning to the next phase. This is not it for you.

You are exactly where you need to be. It will lead you to where you need to go.

Consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18 NIV

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Open letter to the UK Police Force

I am mum to a 12 year old daughter, 8 year old son and a one year old son.

I am concerned for their safety given the number of high profile cases of cruelty against people of colour at the hands of the very people being paid (by our taxes!) to protect them.

Many of your Police officers seem to think that they have the right to do wrong, based on the skin colour of the person that they are dealing with.

Society dictates that we should live within a hierarchical system determined solely by the colour of one’s skin. The lighter you are, the more privilege you have.

But I think that by now, in 2015, it is common knowledge that beneath our skin, we are all the same, our hearts beat the same, our blood runs through our veins the same and we all qualify for equal opportunities.

And yet between, 2014-15, seventeen people of colour died in Custody.

Recent figures also reveal that the number of people dying in police custody has reached its highest level for five years.

A recent independent review announced by Home Secretary Theresa May, could go some way towards exposing what’s really going on; though given past experience of injustice I highly doubt it.

The constant evasiveness and obstructions to justice displayed by some members of the Police force has so far paid off in your favour.

But surely you must now see that times are changing. Social media and camera phones are now exposing much of what has to this day been hidden. People are waking up to the hypocrisy and dangerous behaviour displayed by some members of the force.

It has become painfully clear that there seems to be a pattern of unjust heavy handed, highly violent and callous interactions between the Police and Citizens, particularly people of colour.

So please can you explain to me why people of colour are still being persecuted by ignorant and racist Police Officers, why people of colour make up a disproportionate percentage of the number of people in Prison and in some cases for minor offences that others would most likely get away with, or why citizens are still dying in custody and also why no Police Officer has ever been brought to justice over the mistreatment of people who have suffered an injustice at the hands of the Police.

How much longer will this and the next generation have to keep fighting for justice that they should be freely entitled to?

When will Society finally catch on to the fact that we are human first?

My colour should not dictate how far I get on in life or whether I live or die as a result of a minor traffic violation (RIP Sandra Bland).

I am sick and tired of hearing about victims who have suffered unjustly at the hands of the Police at home and abroad.

To me it’s pretty simple. Wear your badge with honour, perform your duties with honour and honour the whole community that you serve.

If corruption and cover ups be the food of your soul, then let justice starve you until you start to eat right.

I would appreciate a response from you so that I can sit my three children down and explain to them the future that they may have to face at the hands of your officers. I think they deserve to know your truth so this is your opportunity to explain yourself and maybe even be accountable to the actions of some of your gang members.

Kind regards

A concerned British citizen and mum of 3

#DeathsInCustody

#SandraBland

#MarkDuggan #KingsleyBurrell  #SeanRigg #OlaseniLewis #MikeyPowell #ShekuBayoh #SmileyCulture #DemetreFraser #JacobMichael #ChristopherAdler

#TooManyMoreToMention

#EnoughIsEnough

#BlackLivesMatter

#AllLivesMatter

#Justice

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Media outlets! Where were you?!

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How does a peaceful march attended by thousands of people in London slip by almost unnoticed?

Over three thousand people are estimated to have marched in support of reparations for Maafa (African enslavement) last weekend and yet no mainstream media outlets chose to cover it?

The first thing I find myself asking is why? Though the answer may well be obvious to many, it still makes me wonder why, in 2015, thousands of people of colour march to Parliament in peace to raise awareness of a serious matter that is clearly of public interest given the huge numbers of people possible affected; but no major newspaper or radio station thought it was worth a mention.

So why were the views and the concerns of these British citizens widely ignored?

This peaceful march, filled with drumming, chanting and positive vibes was given a wide berth simply because the prejudices that were apparent back in the days of slavery are unfortunately still at the heart of many British institutions.

Is this simply a race issue? In my opinion, yes it is. Will any media outlets ever admit that they don’t really care about what matters to people of colour? Of course not!

They will only care if one of us has committed a crime or if the march had descended into chaos and violence.

Until recently, I produced a specialist BBC Local radio show which covers stories that matter to the African and Caribbean community.

My final show, a week before the reparations march saw a group of Rasta’s come in to perform a live groundation (Spiritual chanting and drumming) and to raise awareness of the upcoming march.

I saw it as my duty to ensure this event received coverage. I did also wonder if anyone else would be brave enough to broadcast anything about it.

The thousands, who attended the march, did so following a successful social media, mobile platform and community radio campaign led by grass roots activists and campaigners.

I view this to be a major achievement and ground-breaking in terms of unifying the black community for something other than a carnival, wedding or funeral.

What was even more poignant about this event was the petition handed in to parliament by a delegation of community representatives including Sis Jendayi Serwah, Sis Esther Stanford-Xosei, Mama Lindiwe Tsele, Sis Natoya Smith and brothers Kweme Abubaka and Jabari Sekou.

It was titled ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ requesting an All-Party Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice to Downing Street.

Now all we need to do is to stop the media from blatantly ignoring the needs of the black community.

In particular, the broadcasters who force us to pay a TV license should be held to account for choosing to ignore the concerns of the community in which it is supposed to serve.

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I used to love her; I still do

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I’ve had a few days to digest the recent concert in Birmingham of Ms Lauryn Hill.

The lady that helped to deliver two Fugees albums, produced what is in my opinion the best album of all time – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which she won 5 grammy’s for and also not forgetting her last offering – MTV unplugged album.

Negative press seems to follow Ms Hill, in an attempt, in line with some of the biggest conspiracies of all time, to bring this unique artist down and out.

I on the other hand have never been too phased by the backlash that follows her. I am aware that this unconventional artist is most likely berated because she refuses to conform to pressures from the media and entertainment industry to be more puppet like and to do what the other black female music artists do.

We’ve become so used to expecting an award winning spectacle from singers, with half dressed women gyrating in front of children, fornication being the sole message and the product being packaged in a way that could be deemed harmful to a whole generation and beyond.

What I like about Lauryn Hill is her daring to be different and non conformist. Her passion for what she does and her organic and laid back approach to her artistry. Her music does all the talking. It doesn’t need to be dressed up in any way to cover up any shortcomings.

Her concert in Birmingham was everything I had expected from a performer who really is all about the music.

Her eclectic and diverse mix of indie, rock, hip hop, reggae and rnb infused songs constantly kept me on my toes.
I didn’t go to her concert to hear exactly what she did on her last album, I went there to hear what this amazing artist had to offer her audience. What she offered up was a clever and mind blowing remix of her classic hits with a few of the best covers of Bob Marley tracks I’ve ever heard.

The way that Lauryn commanded the band during her performance was a clear indication that this is a woman in control of her own destiny.

Many have slated the concerts in both London and Birmingham and had no respect for what this gifted songstress wanted to express on the day.
I for one will always respect the God given talent of Ms Lauryn Hill. I don’t feel that she owes me anything and would never feel that I am entitled to dictate to her what she should and should not sing at her concert.

For those who complained at what time Ms Hill came on stage or the choice of songs Ms Hill chose to do, I would say that you must remember that you don’t own her on account of the fact that you paid for a ticket to her concert. You are there to hear her do what she wants to do to express her musicality in Her own special way. Her concert is an experience that should be respected for what it is rather than what you feel it should have been.

This is the woman who gave us the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Arguably one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the 90’s if not ever. This is the lady who made history becoming the first ever woman to be nominated in 10 different categories for the Grammy awards and eventually walking away with 5. This is the woman who chose to put her children first and step away from the spotlight in order to dedicate her time to them.

She has and always will be an inspiration to me. Our eldest sons both share the same name so I always knew that one day our paths would cross.
Never did I imagine it would be in the back seat of her car!
I spotted Ms Hill following the concert as she was about to leave the venue. Her car was surrounded by around 100 fans desperate to get a photo with her. I was amazed at how Ms Hill reacted to the crowd, she did not once display any diva, arrogant type behaviour. In fact, on the contrary, she was very calm and willing to take a photo and have a chat with every individual around the car.

When my turn came I was able to fulfil a life time ambition in sharing with her my respect for her as a music artist. I was humbled by her friendly and caring nature as she put her arm around my shoulder to pose for yet another photo.

This is a woman who deserves our respect not our condemnation. We must shy away from thinking about her in the way that the media and the music industry wants us to view her. The picture they paint of her is not a true reflection of the character I met on the back seat of her car, if only for a few brief minutes.

As the great Lauryn Hill said “Everything is everything, what is meant to be will be.”

I pray that for Ms Hill, what God has meant for her will include love, unity and freedom just as she sings and raps about in her songs.

I also hope that one of the most talented lyricists ever to grace this planet will never conform to sell more tickets, will never stop expressing how she feels on that given day and will one day be able to introduce her son Zion to my son Zion!

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