Inspiration For Yours Ears & Soul: Poet / Singer Jamila Woods, New Hip Hop Artist Naji & Nuturing Friendships 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Jamila Woods via Soundcloud
Photo credit: via jamilawoods.com

Can I be real with y’all? Stress threatened to annihilate my joy this week. I didn’t know if I could post this series. But then I started to think about God, and how through all the chaos and challenges, His spirit brought me serenity and beauty.

I am still digesting Sarah Jakes-Roberts powerful sermon about renewing your mind for the miracle.

I heard about Jamila Woods’ music, but this morning was the first time I had a chance to listen, and I am in awe! She totally and completely restored my musical life, y’all.

Blk Girl Solider, an ode to the epic resilience of black women is on repeat. These lines: ” She don’t give up… Rosa was a freedom fighter, and she taught us how to fight. Assata was a freedom fighter l, and she taught us how to fight…” Listen to the whole album on Soundcloud (it’s free).

Speaking of musical inspiration, heard of Naji? He is a thoughtful young Hip-Hop artist whose latest piece focuses on a range of issues from the violence in our communities to police terror and the legacy of systemic racism.

Hip-Hop artist Naji | Image via YouTube

I love this beautiful piece on the daily devotional website Our Words Collaborative by Andrea Marlowe on standing in our faith and remaining true to our relationship with God, no matter what others think.

Loved this podcast on Black Girl In Om about truth in sistahood and friendship.

I am inspired by the Sioux tribes of North Dakota who are resisting construction of  the Dakota Access Pipeline, and instead  calling on us to honor nature.

A Letter to my Young Daughter about Living as a Woman of Color & Radical Faith in America 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Devin Allen

Dear Nai,

One week ago, while you slept, Mommy stood in the kitchen, surrounded by plates and cups and cried. I nearly collapsed, knees aching, my stomach somersaulting with uneasiness and lingering pain.

I cried because when I looked at Philando Castile’s fiancée, her eyes, worn from grief and shock, mirrored my own in ways you will one day, sadly, know as a black woman, unless the conscious of America profoundly shifts. Your Mama is an optimist, and a Christian so I stand on the anchor of hope (Hebrews 6:19), praying we will begin seeing each other not as Americans but people, people whose individual truths are valid and real.

Frankly, I don’t know if this will happen in your lifetime, but I want you to extend the love your Daddy and I give you always. Allow it to take up residence in your heart, and fill it often as you come before God in thoughtful prayer and communion.

Kes, Nai and me Photo Credit: Wayne De Coteau

You will need this love to live in a country and world which insists on rendering you, your perspective and intellect, your unique truth, invisible. Mama wants so desperately to protect you from the pernicious sting of rejection, but I cannot. And when I am forced to acknowledge this grimness, the weight of it nearly crushes me.  But then I think of women of color like Dr. Maya Angelou whose sentence from the poem, “Our Grandmothers” rests within Mama’s spirit, eviscerating this looming mist of defeat which attempts to choke out hope: “I come as one, I stand as ten thousand.”

Say this to yourself, my love, often, especially when you think you cannot overcome an obstacle. “I come as one, I stand as ten thousand.”

You are the descendent of a people rooted in resistance and resilience, dear heart; they refused to allow the ideology of white supremacy to define their destiny. Madam C.J. Walker became the first woman millionaire in America because a divine vision, superseded manmade barriers of skin color and gender.

Your Great Grandmother started working at age 5, and did not stop until her 60s; her retirement from being a domestic worker came because her daughter, your Nana, held a fierce determination within her heart, shutting out the high school counselor’s prediction that she should sweep floors, instead, she graduated with honors from Morgan State University.

Nana became an educator, touching the lives of thousands of children in Baltimore city, opening their minds to a more expansive history of the U.S. And then she came home, every day, and poured these revelations of our past into her children so our futures would not become marred by defeat, but instead, armed with this biblical truth: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

Each time you hear the lies of “not enough” (smart, beautiful or talented) echoed from American culture refute  these destructive words and live. Live because your life is a testament to triumph over fear and hatred.

Lucille Clifton, renowned poet, proudly declares, “come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.” These are your foremamas, Nai! Their struggle shall be your strength.

When you experience discrimination and meet others who do, waste no time bemoaning it, put your energy (all of the sadness, anger and frustration) into action. Allow these verses of scripture to dwell within your soul:

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

You matter. Your ancestors built this country, not as slaves, but as survivors whose sheer will birthed an unrivaled ingenuity spanning every field and occupation. Listen. You will hear it couched in the melody of the blues, rising in the triumphant praise of gospel music, and through the eloquent work of writers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis and many others.

You are always enough. God created you not to conform to this world, but to transform it.

And so, I leave you, my darling, with the words of Howard Thurman, a great African-American theologian, author and thinker (Jesus and the Disinherited) who inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other seekers of justice:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

My Love For You Is Eternal,

Your Mama

Inspiration for Your Ears: From Heartfelt Gospel to Mindfulness and Activism

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Source: Pixaby

This week flew with dizzying speed so I listened to more music than podcasts, but still managed to catch inspiration from a plethora of sources.

My hairstylist Dominique turned me on to a heartfelt gospel song “Worth” by Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy.  Its such a beautiful reminder that God’s love for us is boundless and liberating.

Shannon, my bestie and LIC blog contributing writer, spent this week rocking out to Vixen Noir, an eclectic music artist who’s song “Dangerous,” celebrates independence and strength.

Andra Day, with her lovely vintage look and soulful sensibilities is officially one of my favorite new artists. Her song “Rise Up” eloquently captures the relentless spirit of determination. “I’ll rise up unafraid,” she sings boldly.

I just discovered Lizz Wright has a new album, Freedom and Surrender. The behind-the-scenes video is about this latest offering is fascinating; its always great to hear the artist discuss their work.

Affirming the lives of all black folks matters is essential for America’s healing. I love Koli Tengella’s take on this issue. His commentary is regularly featured on The Marc Steiner show, my favorite daily radio broadcast airing WEAA 88.9 FM.