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The past several days have been rough on all of us. Not just people of color – all of us. First, video of the Alton Brown shooting started to circulate. I decided not to watch. But social media… Facebook and Twitter both autoplay videos, and soon enough, I saw a man pinned to the ground and shot in the back several times. My spirit still hadn’t gotten over the Fruitvale movie that I saw at a screening at Blogging While Brown a few years ago in New York.
I wasn’t ready.
This post is part of a conversation sponsored by AT&T and I was compensated. All opinions are my own.Add a comment
This is Evan. Today is his birthday, and is just about ready to go to college. He has one more year of sharing a room with his brother, but neither one can wait for the transition. In this video, he talks about his goals for personalizing his space.
(Watch the short version of the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTCu4QAR_3A)
In light of recent events, celebrating my oldest son’s birthday is hard, but not in the way that I expected it to be. He is my first kid, my baby boy, and I get nostalgic on birthdays. I remember how much I loved his little feet, and how we called him "happy head" because when he'd smile, his whole head seemed to smile. Celebrating his life, when there had been so much loss on and around his birthday was difficult. I’m happy my son will see another year, sad that other mothers' sons won't. Evan is the one who would be giving extra graham crackers to kids at lunch time like Philando Castile. I can't imagine what these moms are feeling.
As we sang and danced in the car, he says, “This doesn’t feel right – singing and dancing and having fun while people are dying.” I think my husband said it best when he said that now there's even more of a reason to celebrate life and to be happy. When someone wants to steal from you, you protect what’s yours. When the world is trying its best to steal your happiness, you guard that, you cherish that, you protect it with everything you have. Evan deserves to enjoy his birthday, just like those who won’t live to see theirs.Add a comment Read more...
Since I have been a blogger, I have had the opportunity to connect online with business owners and bloggers from all over the Caribbean. You may remember seeing Kamilah Campbell’s work in our Caribbean Gift Guide from Christmas time last year. She is the jewelry designer and owner of The Pink Locket, a handmade jewelry business based outside of Atlanta. We have shared her professional side with you, and I am glad to share a more personal side of Kamilah with this interview.
Socamom: Tell us about yourself, Kamilah!
Kamilah: I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to the United States when I was about two years old. I grew up in both Stamford, CT and Bronx, NY. I attended the University of Connecticut for undergrad and later Metropolitan College of New York where I received my MBA. I am a wife and mother of 3 boys, and we currently live in Douglasville, GA (right outside downtown Atlanta).
Socamom: What is it about being a Caribbean mom that makes you different from American parents?
Kamilah: There's definitely a strong sense of cultural awareness that I pass along to my kids when I compare myself to my fellow American mothers, whether it's the music, food or just specific sayings.
Socamom: When did your children realize that you were different from the other moms?
Kamilah: I believe it was when I said something to them in Jamaican patois. My four year old loves to say "Geesam Peas" when something goes wrong. I realized I may have said it way too many times around him. Also, there are just certain things in a Caribbean household that are just mandatory, and that you pass on to your kids. For instance, my boys couldn't understand why we clean the house every weekend. As they've gotten older I've eased up a bit. They may miss a week or so.Add a comment Read more...
Photo by Bryan Burchell
You never know how tough you can be. This dream chaser and community maker prides herself on being resilient and focused on achieving her goals. Deborah Lynch Burchell has created two communities – one for food bloggers and one for chefs and diners. This mother of nine, and two step-daughters, hosts dinner parties and cooking classes, and is active on social media. Meet Deborah, Trinidadian chef and business owner.
Socamom: Tell us about yourself Deborah.
Deborah: I am a Trini to the bone. I was born and raised in a small Indian village in Trinidad to a half Vincentian Mother and a father who was a real pot of callaloo, meaning he was a mixture of a lot of different races. I currently reside in New York and run my own Caribbean catering and food delivery business. I'm also a traveling chef who hosts dinner parties and cooking classes.
Socamom: What is it about being a Caribbean mom that makes you different from parents from America?
Deborah: I was very consistent with my kids, they were not allowed to sleep over at their friends’ houses a lot, and they had chores. The bed had to be made before they left the house, and no dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
Socamom: Tell us about a time that your children realized that their mom was different from other moms.
Deborah: My kids realized I was different when they had a bake sale in school and I brought pholourie with tamarind sauce to the school when all the other parents brought cupcakes, donuts, and cookies!Add a comment Read more...
This was a fun interview! I bet that you will find something about Andrea’s experience that resonates with you if you are of Caribbean descent or know someone that is.
Andrea is a self professed “Jill of All Trades” who moved from being a writer for a newspaper to becoming a teacher with a Master’s Degree in Public Health. She has traveled all over the world and has a great appreciation for different cultures, including her own. Now that she is back in the US, she seeks out health, wellness and lifestyle experiences with a cultural and/or international twist. Check out this interview and learn more about Andrea and her Caribbean upbringing.
Socamom: Tell us about yourself Andrea!
Andrea: I am Jamaican-American. I am the only person in my immediate family born in the United States. My identity and pride in being Jamaican was shaped very early by my parents. I spent my summers with my family in Jamaica from early childhood up until I reached high school. I've always seen myself as Jamaican first with an American passport and accent. I love being Caribbean, and one day I know I'll own a home somewhere in the region. If it's not in Jamaica, it will be one of the islands. My heart and soul vibrates to the Caribbean.Add a comment Read more...
Last week was one heck of a week. The kids and I went on Great Day Washington to share tips on how to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage month at home, and we hosted our biggest event of the year, the Anancy Festival. The Anancy Festival is an event centered around Anancy, the keeper of the stories. I told my story, Winston Won’t Go, and two other talented storytellers shared their stories with a great group of kids and parents who listened intently.
I love hearing a good story, and telling a great story. In The BFG, the talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg – finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country.
I was really tired from a long week and weekend, so I wondered if I would go to sleep as soon as the lights went down. Luckily, I had li’l bit there to poke me in my side if she thought I was nodding off. We made a ladies’ night out of it, settled into our seats with our 3D glasses and enjoyed the show. Li’l bit has been doing more reviews for the blog, so I asked her what she thought of the movie.
Me: So what did you think?
Li’l Bit: That was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.
Li’l Bit: Others might not think so, but I’m easily scared, soooo….. yeah. I’m also 10 so I haven’t seen that many scary movies.
Me: Would you recommend that parents take their kids that are your age to see it?
Li’l Bit: It depends on how mature they are. I think it is one of those kinds of movies where they say, “some scenes may be intense for younger viewers.” That giant’s feet were nasty. Nasty feet are scary…
Me: Agreed. So was it ‘nightmare’ scary or just ‘sleep with the lights on’ scary?
Li’l Bit: It’s one of those movies that you just pray you don’t have a bad dream after you watch it. I’m one of those people who gets bad dreams right after I watch something that scares me, so I’d say it is ‘nightmare’ scary. For me at least.
Me: What was so scary about it, besides giant, dirty feet?
Li’l Bit: I guess it’s the fact that they sneak into houses at night, kidnap, and eat children. The little girl looked about my age. I know it wasn’t real, but it could have been me! Not cool.
Me: Is it anything like the book?
Li’l Bit: I never finished the book. I have it, so I’ll check later and get back to you.
Me: Was there anything that you liked about the movie?
Li’l Bit: I did like the movie in general. It was actually really funny. It had a nice happy ending. The special effects are really cool, but now we are back to scary. They were very realistic, which made them scary. Overall, I did like the movie, and I think other kids will like it too.
Now it’s my turn!
Does it earn the PG rating? I definitely think so. Here’s the thing that struck me right off the bat. There is a grown man who snatches a young girl out of her bed and plans to basically keep her hostage forever in a cave. A very cool cave, but in a cave nonetheless. I just didn’t like the vibe. The BFG didn’t look enough like a fairy tale type character to me, so it just felt like a kidnapping.
“The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming…” ~ Disney
I think that it is important that the kids who go to see this are old enough to understand that when a man takes a kid, it is not likely that he will be taking them on a magical adventure in giant country.
“The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams.” ~ Disney
Also, the rest of the giants looked a lot like real people, not mythical monsters, just huge people, so when they were chasing the main character, I could see how a young girl could be terrified at the scene. Ten might be the youngest that I’d go with this one.
Bottom line, should you take the kids to see it? I don’t see why not, if you child is ready to handle it. The story is a classic, and Steven Spielberg does a nice job with it. It isn’t an easy story to translate into a movie without getting super creepy. Fairy tales are like that. I mean, the one about kids getting cooked in an oven? How do you even tone that down? Overall, it makes for an entertaining evening at the movies, and the special effects are fantastic. There’s a little crude humor, but every family, I don’t care how proper you are, enjoys some good gas driven comedy every now and then.
It definitely is worth seeing on the big screen because… well… giants. 3D isn’t necessary though. My eyes adjusted rather quickly, and the effects, as far as the 3D went, didn’t really do much to enhance the story. If seeing it without 3D will save you a couple dollars, then spend that on popcorn and skip the 3D.
I wouldn’t consider this a date night movie. It isn’t fantasy like the Hobbit - more for kids than not. So if you are going, you may as well take the little ones – or not so little ones. Just be prepared. They may end up sleeping in your bed for a night or two.
(Oh, and there are several people of color in the movie. Just putting that out there after the Alice in Wonderland review. Thank you Disney!)
“The BFG” opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.
We were invited to a pre-screening of the BFG for the purposes of writing this review. All opinions are our own.Add a comment
Selfie by Markette Sheppard (Facebook and Instagram).
I was so pleased to be on Great Day Washington on WUSA 9 (CBS Affiliate) with Markette Sheppard to share some quick tidbits about ways you can celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month at home! My cousin and I went shopping for the perfect snacks to include in the segment. You know we had to taste test them. See anything you recognize?
Red and Cream Soda Solo (in glass of course)
Jub Jub Candy
Did we have any of your favorites?
We also had a DIY Caribbean Carnival headpiece that Markette tried on. The real costumes are thousands of dollars, so I thought you guys would appreciate one that cost less than 15 bucks! Like I said in the Carnival Headpiece Tutorial, hot glue guns aren't for kids (even if they say "low heat") so I brought paper versions that you can make with crayons and regular glue or glue sticks.
Everybody loved my Nicole and Madeline skirt! She keeps me looking fabulous, and helped me get the snacks too!
Eden and Dave came to hang out! They had a blast and even got a chance to try out the green screen over by the weather reporting area. The team over at Great Day Washington was so nice, and extremely helpful.
I didn't talk about the Anancy Festival or Tabanca Box, but there'll be video for the Tabanca Box and pics for the Anancy Festival very soon. The Anancy Festival is on the 26th at 3, and there are still a few (very few) tickets left. Check out the video, and let me know what you think!
How will you be celebrating Caribbean American Heritage Month? First time hearing about it? What will you try to do next June? Tell us in the comments :)Add a comment
I met Aisha Thompson several years ago at the Anancy Festival in Washington, DC, and I am so excited to introduce her to you! Aisha Thompson is the President and CEO of Barnola, a company that makes hand-crafted granola snacks inspired by her childhood in the Caribbean.
With fifteen years of baking experience and the love and support of her family, Aisha blends flavors like nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon into treats that she sells online and at farmer’s markets. Get to know Aisha, and enter to win your own Barnolaa here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/349f6b1d15/?
Eva: Where is your family from in the Caribbean? How has that shaped who you are and your business values?
Aisha: My family is from Antigua, a beautiful little island best known for its 365 beaches. Growing up in Antigua I have a strong sense of family, friendship and community. Throughout my life, many of the folks we knew were business owners, entrepreneurship has always seemed very natural to me.
Eva: Who are the entrepreneurs in your family? Is there anything about being Caribbean that you find makes you uniquely qualified for what you are doing? Any special advantages? Drawbacks?Add a comment Read more...
Meet Joanna of JoannaE.com! She is a travel and lifestyle blogger who you can find on YouTube making us envious of her natural hairstyles. Joanna shared some of what it is like to have a Caribbean mom in this quick interview. Get to know Joanna and how she is influenced by her Trinidadian heritage.
Socamom: Tell us about yourself!
Joanna: I am the founder of JoannaE.com, a travel and lifestyle blog documenting my personal travels. I also offer travel, beauty, fashion tips and more. I take pride in my Trinidadian heritage and I am interested in Caribbean and world culture.
Socamom: Growing up, what was it about having a Caribbean mom that makes you different from your friends from America?
Joanna: I wasn't scared of my mother, but it almost seemed like my siblings and I were taught to respect our parents more than my friends were. I couldn't just say or do whatever I wanted. There was no question as to who was the parent, and who was the child. There was always order in the house.
Socamom: Tell us about a time that you realized that your mom was different from other moms.
Joanna: My mother didn't play when it came to school or work. She encouraged friendships, but if school or housework wasn't done, friends came second. My friends’ parents seemed to have a "let them live their life" attitude.Add a comment Read more...
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