Welcome to Free-Thought Fridays!
This week’s Musings covers events from the week of Saturday, December 5 – Friday, December 11. I have not written a Musings post since June! I took a brief hiatus to rebuild this beautiful website. But, I am back now. Let’s dig in.
We are in the final days of fall season preparing to enter winter. Y’all ready?
This week there is Hanukah, vaccine chatter, and the end of my Fall 2020 Semester.
I made it!
This week, one of my oldest friends turns 35.
I am grateful for long friendship as we just celebrated 20 years.
My top ten (shareable) thoughts in this week’s rhapsody of Ms. Jae’s Musings:
PhD Jae. I did it. I submitted my doctoral apps to each grad school on my list. Applying to doc programs is no small undertaking and I experienced an obstacle or two along the way, yet I still pushed through. To celebrate my efforts, my partner treated me to a fancy-schmancy meal at Ruth’s Chris. Who doesn’t love being celebrated, right? Especially with fine dining, excellent cocktails, and my favorite dessert! The Chilean sea bass was everything and I promise they had the best lemon drop I have ever tasted. Wish me well. I expect acceptance letters soon. Keep you posted. #justcallmedrjae
The Curriculum Queen. My team and I are preparing to release Our History Revealed™: Africans in Modern America Volume II this month. The 36-week history program is written for Grades 7-12 and includes a lesson guide for parents and a history journal for students. To better support homeschooling families, I also divided the curriculum into seven units available for individual purchase. Parents can now spend intentional time on a concentrated history topic or save money if they are not yet committed to investing in a full curriculum.
The first two units, “Early Twentieth Century” & “WWI, The Harlem Renaissance, and The Crash,” are ready for you to download from my shop. There is no other history curriculum on the market that has lessons which intentionally recognizes and celebrates both The Black Woman and The Black Man but Our History Revealed™. Look for them in either Volume II, Part I or Unit II. You are in for a treat. #culturaleducator
Witty Writers. This semester I had the pleasure of teaching a group of eighth graders how to write their first formal essays. If your child needs to learn how to write, you want me as their teacher. I am great, but I make my students even greater! This week I hosted our final class where I invited family and friends to serve as our live audience. My students delivered their essays as speeches and recited “Harlem” by Langston Hughes. It was amazing! Their families stayed after class dismissed to chat with me, sing their child’s praises, and boast of my work. It was the best part of my day.
Two fathers expressed that “the money we pay you is money well spent” and “this class was worth the money and more.” Black fathers and their money seldom part, so this meant the world to me! All the mamas and extended family were impressed and loved my work, but my favorite email was “Thank you for all of your support and pushing this semester. You have truly created a safe space for all learners to thrive. See you in the Spring.” The only thing better than being recognized for your work is having a first-time parent turn into a repeat parent. My heart is so full that I am ending the semester on this high note. #borntoteach
Lip Color Lover. I have been a no make-up girl. Not for any other reason except that I like my own natural look and I do not want to invest the time or money many women pour into jazzing up their faces. While I am still mostly this way, I am in love with lip color in my 30s. Go figure. It’s the least time-consuming and my cheapest beauty product. I heard The Lip Bar was THE place to try. For Black Friday, I stocked up on (what looked like) my favorite lip colors. I loved all of my colors, but I think this brown is my favorite. I chose this color to wear out to my doc app celebration dinner, and I was totally feelin’ myself. I adore how much I evolve and the new things I am constantly learning about myself. Check me out. #ilovebeingme
Boss Lady. The only thing in business that excites me more than making money is collecting free money. So, when I spotted an eligible business grant opportunity, I was all over it. (If you run a legit and formalized business, either dedicate time or hire an admin to curate free money opps for your business. There is free money out here and you should get in on it. You’re welcome.) I found a perfect match and submitted my application. In the first round, the selection committee chooses the finalists. Then, the community votes on the winner. Once I make the finalist list, I’ll post the voting link and ask for your support. Wish me well. P.S. If you have a woman-owned business, check out this grant. #grantsaregoals
Hanukah. Each December, I receive about a dozen emails asking me something about Hanukah. What is it? When is it? How do I celebrate it? What’s the real history? Do you have any learning material? These questions take the lead every year, and I beat those emails to the punch this week. I published my Hanukah post Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning I woke up to emails from you all thanking me for the post and the freebies. I even had a note from one of my favorite scholars praising me on my writing. Thank you all for your kinds words. It really made my morning. #culturalfestivals
Virtual Professor. Because I have operated my own business teaching virtual classes for years, the demand for distance learning via Zoom was not new for me. I was more than ready. However, teaching undergrads at a major university online was new. Many of the skills transferred but there were still some things to learn and manage. Classes successfully ended last week! I did it. I made it through teaching my first virtual semester as a university professor. #allidoiswinwinnomatterwhat
Why, Washington Post, Why? Washington Post, we must have a conversation. I never know how to begin language or grammar discussions because culture and usage does influence language. Yet, still I prefer to keep academia and culture separate in terms of formal authority. Fairly, this critique is more for Merriam-Webster than the Post. I am not sure when dictionary standards shifted to include words that are not words. Adding a word to the dictionary because the word is in use is one thing, but confirming its grammatical veracity seems lexically incorrect. I do not want to be the language police. In fact, I looked the other way when Merriam-Wester confirmed ‘irregardless’ as a word this summer. I winced, but I looked the other way. Even as I type this paragraph, the red squiggly line appears under it because we all know, at least Microsoft does, that ‘irregardless’ is not a word.
However, I draw the line at ‘curriculums.’ The plural of curriculum is curricula, not curriculums. As I read this past Sunday’s Opinion from the Washington Post my mouth fell agape as I read ‘curriculums.’ The word choice was so egregious that it sparked much disdain in my literacy and academic circles. Neither of us could believe that the Post would use such grammar. Apparently, Chicago editors agree, so I digress. What is language coming to? Culture and usage influences language and grammar, yes, but it should not inform it. #imsoupset
Bibliophile. I finished reading Is Marriage For White People? The history is solid. The data is informative, though painful. As a text for understanding the relationship climate of Black Americans, particularly Black women, it does its job. While it is not likely that you’d find me marrying anyone else but a Black man, I am understanding of women who decide to date elsewhere. I get it. The Black man pool is not always abundant with the cream of crop. Though, let’s be clear. There are male un-desireables in all people groups, not just Black men.
I have not personally experienced many of the relationship woes the women in this book detailed in their interviews with Banks, but I am friends with enough Black women to know their realities are valid. Yet still, I would not say I am fan of this book. I started reading because I understand that much of American culture is Western culture and many Black people do not find their roots in it.
By the title alone it seemed to suggest that maybe there would be some teachings on the fact that marriage is not for “us” backed with historical insights, or that marriage is an African custom but we practice differently or even incorrectly from how we once upheld it. This was none of that, and I was sorely disappointed. I continued to read after my realization. I reoriented myself to believe that maybe the author would provide solutions—actual moves to make to soothe the ills he described. That did not happen either, not really.
The book is packed with sound research and there are some connecting dots that will give you more than an ah-ha moment. It would make for a relevant assigned reading for high school or college students to encourage a necessary discourse. But should it be lauded as a source by which to treat relationship issues in the Black community? Eh. However you view it, the concluding message was: Choose a man other than a Black man. And on that note, I’m out. #blackrelationshipsmatter
RIP. Do y’all know Natalie Desselle-Reid? She is known for playing the role of Mickey on B.A.P.S. The movie debuted when I was 13 and I was an instant fan. As soon as I scored my own VHS copy, I swear I played the movie nonstop until the tape spilled. Poor tape. I also liked her on Eve’s early 2000s sitcom. She passed away this week on Monday morning. She was only 53 years old. Gone too soon. Rest in peace and power, Natalie. #transitions
See ya’ next week.
Love, Light, & Musings