Category Archives: blackhistory

some days i feel like, elaine brown

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some days I feel like elaine brown. I feel like I have the courage to love what feels right. I feel like I can stand in front of whomever/whatever and move past the criticism of my past with a smile. like elaine brown, some days I feel like I can change the world and by doing that sometimes you have to start over.

elaine brown is particularly known for her involvement in the black panther party in Oakland, Ca. while many haven’t had interest enough to read what her contributions and positions were in the party, they seem satisfied with knowing and saying, “she’s an ex-panther.” I had the privilege of meeting her twice and opening for her during a lecture in los angeles a few years ago. she was very emphatic with her intent to tell her side of the story. to make sure we left her with more to say.

she wanted us to know she believed in the black panther party with her entire being. she helped the panthers set up its first Free Breakfast for Children program in Los Angeles in addition to the panthers Free Busing to Prisons Program and the Free Legal Aid Program. she had a progressive intent for her people and herself as a woman/spiritual being. in her book, A Taste of Power, she made mention that she eventually left the panther party because she could no longer tolerate the patriarchy and sexism.

and I remember her speaking of love. I remember her sharing personal photos of her and Huey P. Newton and talking about how much she was in love with him. as I was holding one of the photos, she pointed to him and said, “he was fine wasn’t he?” her entire face smiled.

some days I feel like elaine brown in wanting to be whole. wanting to be accepted as an intelligent and critical thinker as well as a lover. and for all of who I am to be safe enough to share as part of the human experience.

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some days i feel like, attallah shabazz

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the oldest child. the one who clearly remembers. I am the one who appears to have “kept it together”. the one sought for direction and clarity.

Attallah Shabazz is the daughter that can silence a crowd with her commanding beauty and strikingly visible resemblance to her father, Malcolm X. Attallah became the artist to this family that was thrown in the political arena. She is a lecturer, playwright, director, producer and performer. She mirrors her art to her father’s message to continue to elutriate ill perceptions. She has found her own voice to preach her own gospel of human rights and self-esteem.

In an interview, Attallah speaks of having coloring books and reading books that depicted persons from black history. She continued, “So when I went to school and parts of me were omitted from history books, I knew the hole wasn’t in me, it was in the books.” Some days I feel like Attallah Shabazz because even though I learned the hole wasn’t me later in life… when I did find out, my art began a path that had a natural commitment to preserving my community and its’ vernacular.

their gold

“Let’s go ahead and be, Betty and Malcolm to infinity
not boo and nigga to never,
Me Ruby Dee and you be my Ossie!”
– excerpt from the poem Make We by Nikki Skies

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They existed before we could quit. Before we began to measure faith. And I don’t know what their arguments were about! I don’t know if they ever went to bed mad at one another! But I can’t find an article of them speaking ill of the other or talking about giving up.

I see a complete picture. It’s like they’re looking at the end. They spotted the pot of gold and this is the best poker face they could deliver to hide their joy! I imagine this picture is after the blessings of their families for them to unite. After he promised her family he would now be the provider. This is after she agreed what he would bring to the table would be enough.

Perhaps this is before Malcolm X began to rise. This is a still when our antiques were their current treasures. This is a still of the black arts movement! If you stare long enough Ossie begins to sweat and pulse points on Ruby Dee’s neck palpitate subtly.

They look like they are ready to conquer the world.
They look like they will create their way out of any situation.
They look like a purposed love.
and I stand on their shoulders.

Ossie Davis and Rube Dee

Some Things I am Convinced Of

I am convinced of my ancestors effortless being of linking the seven sciences. 

                         (Grammar, Arithmetic, Rhetoric, Dialectic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music)

I am convinced my ancestors altruistic nature taught this ingenuity to everyone else on the earth

I am convinced once it was duplicated the magic just wasn’t the same… it never had the same exact medicinal results

I am convinced this angered the foreign thieves

I am convinced the foreign thieves feared our wedded power if we were to ever reconnect the power of It All

so we were taught to compete in a way that destroyed families/communities/dynasties

we were distracted with results while the formulas to create now became our quest

and this continued through captivity

but we began to communicate through drums and quilts and songs

and then some of us were chosen to eat and… we were separated again

something happened in the 50’s/60’s where we began to communicate through song and dance and sermons and theatre

and then some of us were chosen to eat and… we were separated again

and then we created a culture of hip hop with music and dance and graffiti and religion and clothes

and then some of us were chosen to eat and… we were separated again

and then poetry began to crawl then walk and ran from corner to corner of the world

and we met at coffee houses and corners and churches

and then some were chosen to eat and… we were separated again

I am convinced the spirits of our ancestors will garner enough energy to once again present an opportunity for us to reconnect ourselves as One

and this time my dear Artists,

We Must Feed Each Other until we get the formula just right!

We must bite the hands of the presenter and

re-member Ourselves.

I am convinced of this.

 

diary: from here

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Another day “from here” with snow still spread on our lawns and the kids are in the house with a major case of cabin fever. They are so desperate to get out of the house they are willing to go see “Frozen” at the movies. At their ages of 7, 9 and 11, cartoons are a complete waste of my money! They just need to get out! We have a little sunshine so the snow and ice should no longer be a threat on the roads. We are still now plagued with the frozen tree branches falling and breaking power lines. Please let us get through tomorrow…

I created a calendar for me to submit my new plays to contests, etc. My ten minute play, Son Unknown, about Virgil Ware has to get out into the world! The only thing preventing that is ME. Keeping it saved on my laptop under the folder “writings”. He has been a secret for too long! I have to get this script out there. If all works out, it will become a short film by the end of the summer. I get to sharpen my scriptwriting chops! That is what I studied my MFA for! Very exciting for me to be able to see this script come to life on stage as well as film 🙂

The film process will make me tell the story visually. With that, I am planning a 3 day trip to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and parts of the Delta in Mississippi. I need to record the trees and streets and some other visual clips that can be shown in the film. Last time I visited Mississippi, my short book came to fruition. What will come of this journey?…

Only I stand in the way of my works not being read in coffee shops, libraries and book stores. Move over Nik!

“You don’t have writer’s block, you just don’t want to tell the truth.” – Nikki Skies

the grits of New Orleans

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I live amongst an amazing circle of friends who write for magazine publications, theater, poetry, novels and short stories. What is amazing is the variety of genres that are covered and how most have embraced this is how the stories come to them. From whomever or where ever they contribute their muse or creative direction, we are all very different.

I am folklore and history. I have been since elementary. I have been visited by songs from oak trees to rural area cobble stone streets. Like most artists, my sleep has been kidnapped by the smells of their cooking and their loud and sometimes hallow laughter. You’ve heard of the “dog whisperer”? Ok, allow me to officially introduce myself, I am Nikki Skies the “southern city whisperer”.
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A summer visit to Jackson, Mississippi inspired my book Mississippi Window Cracks. Working in Montgomery, Al inspired my book Porch n Pork. I recently visited New Orleans for a weekend getaway and was bombarded with voices and stories! From the arrival of marble steps from France to the soulful meals of low country boils to feed families.

I get a romantic story or poem every six years or so. For the most part, excluding the freedom I am creating for this blog, I keep my personal life and stories out of my writings. I would much rather write about you through my colors and seasons. Like how you spent the first musky humid filled night with Katrina, or how your bead strewn streets are actually full of prayers. The life found in your cemetaries and the trusting trance you’d place on swamp gators till daybreak. New Orleans, I heard you. And yes, I will write one of your stories.