***Flawless Feminism?

I’m not sure if I’m keen on this song being called a “feminist master piece”. A term that I’ve seen circulating since the release of Beyoncé self titled album. I am thrilled that Beyoncé showcased Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s  “We Should All Be Feminists” speech. I hope that the short excerpts from Adichie’s speech, will garner Beyoncé’s Beyhive and millions of  fans to actually watch Adichie’s speech in full and that Adichie’s ideals will be introduced to a population of pop culture that may be unaware of it.

While I find this song to be very catchy, I can’t help to think that it is somewhat contradictory to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s featured speech. I’m left feeling a bit  disgruntled and perplexed when Beyoncé continues to say “bow down bitches” throughout the song. For me the word ‘bitch’ is not where my contention lies with Beyoncé, its about the role of power in the phrase “bow down”. The line from the song that showcases this power dynamic states: “I’m so crown, crown, bow down bitches!”

QueenBey-danieb

Throughout Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, she is demanding for equality and equity for women and men; as self-evident by the title, “We should all be feminists.”  She is not relying solely on power and some self presumed hegemony gained through one’s popularity, talent, and fan base.

At 25:45 (minutes) into the speech, Adichie’s states “Gender and class are different forms of oppression.” This got me thinking. As a feminist, which Beyonce has identified as, she is a powerful woman of color that faces complex and compounding forms of oppression. Yet as a feminist, using your power to tell your audience (assuming its directed at men or “haters”) to “bow down” seems to be counterintuitive.

Queendoms and kingdoms alike are hegemonic by nature. “Queen Beyonce’s” empire is nevertheless different.  But as stated by Crunk Feminist Collective, “She’s a work in progress, as are we all.”

So no, I do not believe that this song was flawlessly executed. Nevertheless, it is inspiring to see a successful woman of color identify as a feminist openly and unapologetically.  One thing that I’m very happy to see is that Beyonce has inspired many from her Beyhive to listen to this speech in is entirety. If you look at the recent comments from Adichie’s speech on Youtube, you can see that the most recents comments are generated by Beyonce’s Beyhive.

beyhivebeyhive1beyhive2beyhive3beyhive4beyhive5beyhive6

 

 

Thank you Nelson Mandela.

There is no news that travels faster than the news of death.

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Thank you for your unrelenting persistence and gumption for justice. Your revolutionary spirit and will is eternal and will never be forgotten.

Nelson Mandela, I thank you for standing your ground in the face of injustice, oppression, racism, apartheid, inequality and helping to chip away (however small) at the concrete walls of injustice.

Thank you for your compassion and fearlessness.

 

Teaching Assistant Program In France

“Dear Future Teaching Assistant,

Congratulations!  We are very pleased to inform you of your acceptance to the Teaching Assistant Program in France for the 2013-2014 academic year, sponsored by the French Ministry of Education.”

For over a year, I waited to hear those sweet words. My journey began in the summer of 2009. I took the opportunity to study abroad in the South of France for a month (thinking that would be my only study abroad opportunity). I completely fell in love with Nice, France. After coming back to the States, I had to find a way to get back there. During the fall quarter of my junior year in undergrad, I made the decision to embark on a new journey. In spring semester of 2010, I returned back to Nice for a full study abroad experience. There my love for France grew immensely.

24763_1180964298027_2620723_n [Nice, France 2010]

Prior to graduating in 2012, I applied for the TAPIF and unfortunately I was not accepted into program. At the time, I was quite devastated by this news. Nevertheless, I inquired about how to better improve my application for the future. The short and long of it was that I needed to improve in my written and oral compression of French, and gain teaching/classroom experience.

Coincidently, another opportunity surfaced and I was able to serve my community while giving back to an organization that contributed immensely to my educational pursuits. While serving a year as an AmeriCorps, my passion for teaching grew and the TAPIF program still lingered in my mind. Participating in my AmeriCorps program gave me the classroom management and teaching experience necessary to work with students. While participating in French conversation groups (through Meetup Seattle) and French learning programs, improved my oral and written comprehension.

keep-calm-and-apply-again-for-the-teaching-assistant-program-in-france-3

With my newly acquired and improved skills, I was ready to apply for the TAPIF program again. Thanks to the support and assistance of some wonderful individuals and mentors, I sent of my application in on January of 2013.  During the waiting period that seemed to transcend lifetimes, I was constantly doubting if I would actually be accepted into the program.

But lo and behold, in April of 2013, I received those very sweet words of congratulations!!! My happiness was beyond words!!! As I read that email, I was overwhelmed with nervousness, first and foremost, and then pure joy and excitement.

Resiliency is the key!!!

Thanks to this new opportunity, my aspiration to become fluent in French will soon become a reality. I hope you will join me in this journey as I navigate France, grow, learn, and continue to foster mentorship relationships with students.

I have been placed in the Académie de Toulouse.cropped-toulouse_1914.jpg

Kale: Now available in Toulouse!!!

553469_10151041146976160_1212284388_nI woke up to some amazing news yesterday morning. Kale (chou kale) is finally available in Toulouse, France. Kale is a staple product in my diet and I’ve greatly missed it since leaving the States.

Fortunately, thanks the wonderful efforts of The Kale Project I can purchase kale at my hearts desire, and make as much kale smoothies and kale inspired meals as I want!

Si vous habitez à Toulouse et vous souhaitez savoir où trouver le chou kale, vous pouvez acheter à Biocoop à Jean Jaurès ou à Auchan. C’est 2,99€ le kilo  à Auchan et pour le bio c’est 6,40€ le kilo à Biocoop.

En savoir plus sur le chou kale ici: Kale, le chou qui a rendu fous les Américains.

Bon appétit!!!

dream deferred

Harlem

By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load

Or does it explode?

The dream gets revamped and with enough determination, you can make the dream a reality!

 I welcome you to my new journey in Toulouse, France.

IMG_2761 [Toulouse, France | October 2013]

 

Merci Beaucoup!!!

This post is dedicated to the wonderful individuals that chose to support my fundraising campaign to help me get to France.  I am truly touched by your generosity and willingness to help me achieve my goals. There aren’t enough words to convey my heartfelt gratitude for your generosity. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your support and contributions!

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33 wonderful individuals helped made my transition to France possible. Your individual generosity and collective help have been an inspiration to me. And thanks to your contributions, I was able to raise $1,527 (almost 30% of my goal)! While not everyone was able to contribute finically, the assistant you provided and moral support was incredible. I thank you and I would like to use this platform to recognize your kindness and philanthropic nature.

While I’m not very good at being openly sentimental, please believe that I’m incredible moved, honored and blessed by your benevolence. I will always remember your kindness and thoughtfulness. I assure you that I will be at your service if you are ever in need.

humongous shout out to:

Ann R.J.

Barry G.

Cathy M.

Dahir J.

Deborah W.

Diane J.

Emily S.

Fatmata E.

Fouzia M.

Haj B.

Henry L.

Ingebjorg M.

Jeff S.

Jennifer T.

Kadiatu S.

Auntie Kadie

Kellie N.

Kevin D.

Letty A.

Lisa P.

Maksim M.

Maxine S.

Melissa R.

Mimi M.

Mom

Natalie H.

Perrine C.

Randy N.

Regina M.

Robert M.

Todd F.

Val Rie S.

Zuri C.


I want to thank you
Show my gratitude
My love and my respect for you
I want to thank you