Whatever Wednesday: You Can Sit With Us, The Black People’s Edition

You know the scenario, the new kid walks into the lunch room looking for a familiar face or a place to sit only to choose a table and hear the words, “You can’t sit with us.” It’s the mean girls slogan for newcomers and it’s transferred over in so many cultures and into the work place. Why? Because mean people and childish adults exist in every culture, race, and they exist in institutions and corporations. EVEN CHURCHES!

In my race and culture I have found the same exclusivity in almost every situation imagined. I’ve been in churches where it wasn’t said but dutifully noted, “You can’t sit with us.” I have been on a job, walked into the breakroom, looking for my people and got the eyes of, “Un uh. Who are you? You can’t sit with us.” I was in my 20’s working at a well known corporate office and into the cafeteria walks the new black girl with her tray. She looks around nervously for a place to sit and I wave my hand like , “Here, over here!” She didn’t work in my department but, I saw her as she was given the tour. She came to the table and said, “Oh, thank you so much!” Eventually, she found her people in her department but, we kept friendly the entire time I was there. I’ve done this, make room and space, numerous times in settings where black men or women find themselves in a room full of us or not, with no idea how to navigate that socially awkward moment. I’ve done it for ANYONE.

I’ve been asked, “Why did you invite “HER” to our table?” or “Do you know them?” I invited her because she was black, a woman, a minority. I invited them because I have been them not because I know them and it wouldn’t hurt to get to know them. It’s okay to hold space until people find their place. It’s the nice, polite, kind thing to do.

Sunday, I attended the wedding of a friend. He was the groom. When I walked into the backyard of his cousin’s home, decorated beautifully, I didn’t know anyone that was there. I navigated towards a table that had a couple sitting at it. I spoke and sat down. I did the unthinkable and started with “small talk”. Before you knew it, we were talking and laughing. We were joined by two more of their family members and just as easily as the conversation started with the couple, so it was with the two additional family members. The people I was sitting with actually ended up being family of the bride. The conversation and laughs blossomed into the things we had in common, life, food, travel, an on the spot order of my chocolate covered strawberries, a remedy for bad knees (lol) and I now have “new” cousins and an additional auntie.

It doesn’t hurt us to be friendly, warm, and inviting to that unfamiliar yet familiar face. In society, we are often considered the outsider. The unequal. The not good enough. We should always, always welcome our own when given the opportunity. Especially, in our own social circles and environments.

~Nikki

Confetti Weekend: Art. Orijennal Art to You

Last year I had the opportunity to sale and show my work at an art event for African American/Black artists in the Fall of 2018. The B.A.E (Black Art Experience)! It was the first showing of my art and I sold three pieces I believe. In the city of Memphis, and many other cities, there is not enough exposure or outlets for people of color and their art. Well, this young lady created an event that did just that.

Fast forward to this year and here she is opening up her own art gallery, teaching art to children in a school system, and with many more things on the horizon for all things art!

This was the GRAND OPENING that houses several artists in the city, including her beautiful art of black women and girls. Hopefully, I will be able to get a piece of my art in there soon. I marvel at the artists and their works. I got to speak with one of my favorite artists at this opening, Mosal Morszart, and met many more new artist.

Seeing their work on the walls really inspired me and talking with Mosal gave me a confidence boost in my own lane as an abstract artist. Jennifer, has also been very supportive and encourage of my work. This means so much to the black girl inside of me who’s work was shunned by an art teacher in High School. Up until then, many teachers were supportive and I was asked to take on many creative projects in school. I stopped painting after that teacher in High School. It wasn’t until about two years ago I put the brush to the canvas and it was like I never left.

Each artist was able to speak about their work.

Not only is there art for purchase, there is also art to wear and art for your home. I really like this space and I am really proud of Jennifer, a sister that has opened up another door for artists. Click the link for more Orijennal Art!

And also check out Mosal’s Page!

https://www.facebook.com/oriJENNalart/

https://www.facebook.com/morszartmosal

Also, you can find my art and my crocheted art on my Facebook page and you can find me on Instagram @theconfettishopbynique

https://www.facebook.com/TheConfettiShop/

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: I am Many

 

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What is novel is what we have not seen and heard before

 

The great debate on what to call a people sold or captured into slavery has been going on for many years. Mostly, among those that are descendants of slaves and those slaves were descendants of Africa. Call me Black. Call me African American. Well, you are not the color black some say. Well you are not from Africa some say. You are American. And on and on it seems to go. I was once told by a guy from Nigeria that I am not African so I cannot be African American. Everybody has an opinion but, the real issue that bothers me is the fact we have to engage in dialogue about who we are. This is the sad fact for those of us living in America as descendants of a vast country. What is more sad is our inability to adequately trace our roots beyond this continent.

In a group of diverse women on Facebook and many from Africa, I had a conversation with one lady about my age. We were discussing in the group the some of the interactions between Black people/African Americans/Americans. How unfriendly some of those interactions can be or awkward. She said, “I can’t speak for all of Africa but, mostly where I am from we call you cousins. Our cousins in America.” In that group that no longer exists, we learned about all of the similarities we had in common from traditions and proverbs to ideas about slavery and freedom. I learned so much. They shared pictures and we did, too. You really understood just how vast and diverse the countries are in Africa.

Am I black? If you are describing me as the same color as a black crayon then no, I am not black. If you are describing me as Black, a word that has become associated with Black Power, Black and I am Proud, Black Girl Magic, Black Girls Rock, then I am cool with that. Am I American. I am just as much American as the people who are not Native Americans that took this land. Am I African American? My history didn’t start with slavery it started with Kings and Queens. I am African American. I am many.

~Nikki