Singing We Ain’t Gonna Stop Till People Are Free!

“Calling out the violence of the racist police. We ain’t gonna stop till people are free.”

We’ve been singing this song for far too long. This video was posted with a young version of myself & Louis (age 11) in Dec of 2014 & the story remains the same. We may be exhausted but we ain’t gonna stop!!

“Calling out the violence of the racist police. We ain’t gonna stop till people are free.”

Nisha Williams and her son Louis Blanton singing “I Can’t Breathe” in Dec 2014.

When Power is Invisible Racism Thrives. Call out white supremacy in whatever way you know & teach your children the same.

Today my 17 year old son is a senior at an historically Black High School, Hillside High School, in Durham NC & is taking African-American History. The day after the Kentucky Attorney General stated a grand jury failed to indict the officers who took the life of Breonna Taylor, Louis is learning about Qualified Immunity.

He is learning about the racist structures and policies that continue to exist in our 21st Century American legal system that enables law enforcement to have no culpability when unjustly taking the lives of people in this country.

Qualified Immunity is a legal principle created through Court opinions. It is not based on actual federal law but rather the Court’s interpretation of laws & policies. Qualified Immunity can be repealed through state & federal legislation. This is just one state/national reform that MUST be passed into law in order to hold individual law enforcement to the same standard that civilians are held to when causing the death of another.

“Qualified immunity applies only in civil lawsuits, not criminal prosecutions. Yet such civil suits are the only means by which individuals or families can get compensation for the violation of their constitutional or civil rights. And in practice, civil lawsuits are often the only means to seek justice at all because prosecutors—themselves government officials—are typically reluctant to bring criminal charges against their government colleagues, especially police officers who are crucial to the work prosecutors do on a daily basis.”

https://ij.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-ending-qualified-immunity/

#blacklivesmatter # sayhername #BreonnaTaylor

Why the RBG Supreme Court Fights Triggers Me

Although I love watching and reading all thing politics, I have purposefully avoided all conversations surrounding the Supreme Court replacement of RBG because it is simply too much for my soul who has even after 18 years not fully healed from the trauma of inadequate access to abortion services.

On Friday, September 18, 2020 the world learned that 87 year old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and as a result left an opening in the Supreme Court with less than 50 days before the 2020 Presidential election.

My Facebook and Twitter timelines are filled with debates among people discussing why or why not the Republicans should appoint a conservative justice to replace the liberal Justice Ginsburg.

In February of 2016, a seat was left open on the Supreme Court by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The Republicans infamously stole a Supreme Court seat by refusing to hold hearings for President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in the Spring of 2016 claiming that it was an election year and the people should vote to decide who should get to make that decision even though the voters had already voted in 2012 and thus decided that Obama should be the one to make the nominee.

The Republican controlled Senate led by the KY Senator Mitch McConnell refused to honor the wishes of the 2012 voters. That was over 200 days before the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died less than 50 days before the 2020 election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The Republicans have quickly turned their 2016 rhetoric upside down and are now pushing to move forward with confirming Donald Trump’s anticipated nominee even before knowing who said proposed justice will be. Republicans are falling in life and have no issues with their blatant hypocrisy.

The Republicans are utilizing this opportunity to highlight their conservative social agenda as the reason for moving forward with filling the open seat.

The conversation of abortion and women’s right to agency in their reproductive health is front and center in these debates.

This debate is triggering AF.

Why?

Because I remember being a pregnant 18 year old college freshman living in Tennessee without adequate access to abortion. The idea that a Conservative Supreme Court could roll back access to abortion rights for women in all states terrifies me for all women and in particular young women without wealth access.

I have struggled for over 18 years raising my son as a single parent. Fortunately, I have had the privilege of having a strong financial support system in my family and was able to tread water and survive the life that came with early motherhood. But even with that I still had to obtain medicaid for myself and my son. I still had to utilize WIC services. I have still had difficulty paying students loans because two bedroom rent payments superseded student loan payments. I had no time to focus on bettering my credit when I needed to simply survive. Being a single parent beginning at age 19 is not a beautiful story of overcoming obstacles. It has instead been an anxiety and depression inducing time. I might look fancy while making this life work for me but it is the mask I have chosen to don while trying to survive motherhood.

My choice to have a child was not my choice in its entirety. I found out I was pregnant in November of 2002. I was attending college in Collegedale, TN, a small college town 20 minutes outside of Chattanooga, TN. I actively considered abortion at the time but was unable to access it in Tennessee. I later learned had I told my parents earlier in my pregnancy they would have helped but like any naive 18 year old I stubbornly and fearfully refused to tell them I was pregnant. Instead I did my own research and learned that there were no abortion clinics in Tennessee in 2002. If I wanted to obtain an abortion I would have to go to either Atlanta, GA or Charlotte, NC. This was not feasible to a then broke and car-less 18 year old college student. Instead I visited the local health department that gave me information for a clinic that served pregnant women. This clinic was actually an organization that encouraged women to continue with their unwanted pregnancies. It required of me to attend parenting classes and at the end of the classes I could get the option to get a free car seat or bassinet. I chose to attend their program and received a bassinet and a few items of baby clothes. That was their “contribution” to my success into motherhood.

For a few weeks I debated amongst myself, my boyfriend, and my friends about what I should do. I was attending a Seventh Day Adventist University at the time so many of my friends were more socially conservative in nature which led them to encourage me to follow through with my pregnancy. I was surrounded by people who simply did not advocate abortion as a viable option to me.

The reason this debate is triggering for me is because I am so fearful for other young versions of myself who find themselves with inadequate access to abortion services as well as support systems to support their decision to move forward with an abortion.

Unlike anti-choice people, I believe that girls and women should have a choice to access to abortion services. I believe that we should be able to make these decisions and not be barred by costs or by parental notice requirements or to be shamed by forcing women to look at pictures or hear the heartbeats of the fetuses they may be carrying.

Child birth transforms a woman’s life. Raising a child without access to wealth can detrimentally affect a woman’s life and her child’s life.

Abortion is not a first choice option for many women but it should at least be a viable option. When politicians cavalierly speak on what women should do with the fertilized cells in their uterus it infuriates me. These politicians do not have to live through the poverty and the mental instability that comes with raising a child in today’s economy.

I have made it by the skin of my teeth. I am only now seeking to thrive and not just to survive today but that is after spending 18 years being a mother with little financial support from his father.

I have been a negative teen pregnancy statistic as well as an example of positive success story regarding teen pregnancy. This was not the life I planned to have and yet this is the life that I was cornered into as a direct result of being pregnant in the socially conservative Republican Red state of Tennessee.

So yes I this conversation triggers me.

Abortion access is no longer a concern for me as an employed 36 year old attorney but this is not about me. It is about the many young women who may have to live in a society where they too are cornered into parenthood because of public policy. Public policy that supports child birth but not contraception or childcare or economically uplifting mothers. Social conservatives need to do better and stop demonizing women who choose to access abortion services and start implementing and funding policies that will support all parents and in particular single mothers.

Although I love watching and reading all thing politics, I have purposefully avoided all conversations surrounding the Supreme Court replacement of RBG because it is simply too much for my soul who has even after 18 years not fully healed from the trauma of inadequate access to abortion services.

***Please don’t get it twisted I love my son and this should not be read as in that light. This piece is to highlight the turmoil that comes with the government taking the right to choose away from a woman. ***

Lovecraft Country Sn 1 Ep 4 History of Violence Recap & Review

Episode 4 is about the main characters, Tic, Leti, and Montrose on a hunt for the Book of Names, Indian Jones style. It also gives us a deeper glimpse into the lives of characters we have yet to learn more about – Montrose, Hippolyta, and Ruby.

Episode 4 is about the main characters, Tic, Leti, and Montrose on a hunt for the Book of Names, Indian Jones style. It also gives us a deeper glimpse into the lives of characters we have yet to learn more about – Montrose, Hippolyta, and Ruby.

Lovecraft Country: Season 1/ Episode 4 "A History of Violence" – Recap/  Review (with Spoilers)
Montrose staring off camera

The episode beings with Montrose burning the book given to him by his brother George. We hear the many thoughts running through the drunken mind of Montrose. We hear a father beating his son. We hear George reminding Montrose to give Tic the book the Bylaws of the Order of the Ancient Ones. We also hear the words from the news stating “the only way to destroy the Reds is to destroy their stockpile.” Montrose ignores his brother’s final wish and burns the book. As the book burns, Montrose says “smells like Tulsa.” This was a nod to the burning of Tulsa, Oklahoma, something that Montrose may have lived through.

During the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, White people rioted a prosperous Black neighborhood killing hundreds of people and burning and looting houses and businesses, over 35 blocks in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Another excellent HBO tv series, Watchmen highlights the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 within its story arch. I highly recommend checking out that tv series if you haven’t yet.

I love the soundtrack in this series. I love how it interwines old and new music into a series that is set in 1955. We next see Christina driving her Silver Ford as Rihanna’s hit song “Bitch Better Have My Money” plays in the background.

Christina meets Leti at her doorstep informing her that it was she who bought Leti this house . She also informs her that Tic figured this out and just tried to shoot her. This was news to Leti who still believed that her mother left her the money. Christina then tells Leti that she is looking for an orrery made by Hiram, the previous owner of the house. An orrery is a mechanical model of a solar sytem. As usual, Leti does not have time for Christina and reminds her that she has no desire to help her and that it is Leti’s name on the deed so Christina needs to get off her property.

I love me some Leti y’all!

The orrery Christina is searching for is in the hands of Hippolyta. Hippolyta has moved it from Leti’s house into the bookshop. She calls her father seeking advice on how to make the model work. He doesn’t offer much help but a friend in the shop reminds her that “every locked thing has its key.”

Lovecraft Country' Episode 4 Recap: "A History Of Violence"
Hippolyta looking at orrery with a friend

Leti confronts Tic about Christina’s revelations at their local Black library. Leti sees Tic reading many books related to the Braithwhites and the Sons of the Adam.

Tic believes if the can learn the language of Adam he can begin making his own spells including one that can allow him to kill Christina. Tic explains to Leti that he was unable to kill Christina because of an invinsibility spell she has. He also states that he believes Christina used him as her pawn to kill her father. Tic stated he will not go back to Florida until he knows his family and Leti are safe.

Leti wonders why Tic is wasting his time doing this when he knows he can get the answers from his father, Montrose. Tic refuses to listen to Leti’s advice and Leti leaves annoyed. As Leti leaves, Tic realizes that every book he has on the table has previously been checked out by his father. Leti was right.

Tic then goes to Sammy’s bar once again to look for his father. Tree is there and let’s Tic know that they are in the back of the bar. They are Leti and Montrose sitting at a table. Leti has not taken Tic’s advice and instead has sought out Montrose to see what if anything does he know about the Order of the Ancient Ones. Montrose is frustrated and annoyed that his son will not leave this magic nonsense alone so he decides to join them on their journey.

The Freeman family (Hippolyta, Diane, Montrose, Tic) and Leti and their neighborhood friend Tree take a road trip to the National Museum of Science in NY in search for the Book of Names.The only people that knows the true purpose of the trip was Leti, Tic and Montrose.

Lovecraft Country: Season 1/ Episode 4 "A History of Violence" – Recap/  Review (with Spoilers)
Hippolyta leaning on Woody the car in Episode 4

While at the museum, Hippolyta and Diane take tour separate from the others. During their tour together, they go to an observation deck where they look at the stars. Diane learns the her mom had named a star through a contest when she was a little girl. A star that she never received credit for because she was a black girl and black girls did not receive such honors instead a white girl received the credit for the naming of the star.

Tree hangs around with Leti, Tic and Montrose as they are in search of the special vault they believed Titus built. Montrose find a black male security guard who gives them an extra 2 hours to stay at the museum after closing time. Tree makes it a point to apologize to Tic for sending him to the back of the bar earlier (Episode 1) to witness Sammy and another man engaging in a sex act. Tic responds that there is nothing to be sorry for because it is of no relevance to him. Tree pushes back and says that it is relevant because Montrose has been spending a lot of time with Sammy. Tic is thrown off guard by this information and questions Montrose as to how he knows the security guard. Montrose responds that he knows him from the bar which again causes Tic to wonder what is going on with his father. They do not address this insinuation that Montrose is gay.

We later learn in the episode that Christina is searching for the Orrery and its key because it is a time machine! Christina and Police Captain Lancaster have a tense meeting in his office. They are both seeking to join the Order of the Ancient Ones. Lancaster is not yet a member and Christina cannot ever become a member because she is a woman. After Christina meets with the Captain she is followed by some other officers until she gets to her house. Once she arrives to her house, William comes out and knocks out those following her and says he is on his way to a date. A date no one was anticipating – a date with Ruby.

Ruby is a hustler. When we see Ruby we see her working. This time we see her at the bar playing her guitar and serenading the crowd. Although Ruby’s voice is magical, her dream job is to work at the local department store. Earlier Ruby learned that the local department store has hired its first Black salesperson. A slim dark-skinned woman was able to get the job after applying on a whim. This frustrated Ruby because Ruby has been diligently applying for that job with no such positive results.

William approaches Ruby and offers her a free drink and an opportunity to help make her dreams come true. Ruby laughs and knows that this is but a dream, a dream that many white men before him have attempted to sell her. Ruby is willing to listen though as long as the free drinks continue to flow.

Lovecraft Country Episode 4 Explained | What Happened in A History of  Violence
Ruby gazing at William in Episode 4

Williams presses Ruby on why not apply again for the department store job even if there is another black woman working there.

I fucking know a lot. For us its a rat race to the finish line and its winner takes it all and if I was in your skin I wouldn’t even have to run. But what I don’t know is what to do about it.

Ruby, Episode 4

Ruby then tells William ‘it aint happening white boy as Williams stares lustfully at Ruby. This statement is far from the truth because we next see Ruby and William making love on the staircase in William’s house as Marilyn Manson’s song “I Put a Spell on You” plays in the background.”

Treasure Hunting Goes Sour in 'Lovecraft Country' Season 1, Episode 4: “A  History of Violence” – Nerds and Beyond
Leti, Tic, and Montrose walking in cave in Episode 4

Episode 4 continues to take us on a wild ride watching Tic, Leti, and Montrose argue amongst themselves regarding which paths to take while searching for the vault. They use their collective brain power to pick the right path out of three tunnel options. They then walk across a beam while avoiding the giant moving ax and disappearing beam, and finally use Tic’s blood from his arm to unlock the final door.

Lovecraft Country Episode 4: 33 Thoughts I Had While Watching
Leti balancing on beam with Tic and Montrose behind her in episode 4

Leti is scared about walking across this beam. As Tic ties a rope around Leti’s waist, Montrose tells her that the knot is a special knot. It is a knot that has passed on from their ancestors who were slaves. This dampens Leti’s fears and she begins to walk across the beam. Tic reminds his father that the Freeman were never enslaved. Montrose responded that it worked because Leti is on the beam. As Leti walks across the beam she disappears into darkness. She screams as a huge moving ax almost knocks her off the beam. Tic runs to her rescue and into the darkness. Montrose is unable to see both Tic and Leti.

As Montrose awaits for a word from Tic and Leti, the beam begins to disappear. Montrose screams in fear. Tic encourages his Dad to make the leap.

“You better catch me boy!!!” Yells Montrose.

“I got you!” Screams Tic.

Montrose jumps into Tics arms and they scurry across the beam. Together the three of them race together as the beam disappears. They reach a wall with a code. They must enter in a code that only Montrose knows. It was a verse written in the bylaws of the book that Montrose read before during the book. He tells them the code, they enter it in and escape to safety.

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY Episode 4: A History of Violence Review | Ravenous Monster

Tic, Leti and Montrose are now walking in caves underground with water slowly rising around them. They have roughly an hour left in the caves before the high tide is in full effect and before they drown. As they trudge through the water in search of the vault, there is tension in the air amongst them. Montrose is annoyed with Tic. Tic walks quickly through the water seemingly forgetting about Leti and Montrose. Tic, frustrated with the burden of his two traveling companions, reminds his father that he would never leave a solider because he can trust his soldiers in the trenches unlike his Father. Tic then calls out his father and asks him how does he know so much about the Sons of Adam. It is then that Montrose tells Tic that George gave him the Ancient Order Bylaws. He said he read it and burned it fulfilling his brother’s final wish. Montrose then shares that his reasoning for burning the book was that he wanted to close pandora’s box. Tic’s response was to ask why are you here then to which Montrose replied “cuz you’re stupid ass won’t stop!” Montrose with all his flaws still wanted to watch over his son even if he didn’t agree with it.

Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 4: “A History of Violence” — RECAP –  Black Girl Nerds
Leti, Montrose, and Tic walking in water in the caves in Episode 4

As they argue Leti is scared by the floating bodies of her missing white next door neighbors. They then realize that the very creepy elevator from Hiram Epstein/Leti’s house is also in the cave. Tic tries to tell Montrose and Leti to get on the elevator. An annoyed Leti scolds Tic and reminds him that he is not the center of the universe and that Montrose and Leti both have a stake in this quest. Montrose was kidnapped and Leti was murdered by the Order. They all deserve to be there.

I don’t know how many times Leti has to remind the men in her world not to coddle her or mess with her. She has a right to be where she wants to be. As Tic watches her swim away, Montrose gives Tic some advice- to apologize to her. Montrose gave Tic the same advise his grandfather gave to him about loving Tic’s mother.

“Always have a love song for your woman. This way when they get to fussin’…You just sing that song to yourself When you’re through, she’ll be done and you can get back to what you want, the lovin.’ Cause that’s all that fussing is anyway. Whole lotta lovin”.

Montrose, Episode 4

They find a door with a dead hand floating in the water still locked in the door of the vault. The hand looks to be that of Hiram Epstein. This is how he died. He used to elevator to come down into the caves and tried to open the vault himself. Tic has what Hiram didn’t have – Braithwhite blood. The door took Tic’s blood and it opened an entryway into the ceiling. They walked into a dark room filled with cobwebs and the skeletons of Native American people including women holding their babies. Sitting at a desk is a skeleton at the table with their hand on a wrapped piece of parchment paper.

Lovecraft Country Episode 4 Explained | What Happened in A History of  Violence
skeleton at table

As Tic touches the hand of the skeleton to grab the papers, the Skelton begins to transform from a bones to muscle and finally into person, a naked and beautiful Native American with dark long hair and symbols written all over their body. The viewer sees the person has breasts and a penis.

The person begins to speak in Arawak, a language only Tic is able to understand. They ask for Titus and Tic says that Titus has been dead for over a century. Tic explains that he is of Titus blood but not his family.

Montrose insensitively yells “What are you?”

Tic responds and gently asks “Who are you?”

They say their name is Yahima Maraokoti. Tic translates.

Lovecraft Country Episode 4: Easter Eggs And References In "A History of  Violence" - GameSpot
Yahima Maraokoti

“Woman. Man, Two Spirts. I come from a land with many waters.”

Titus came on his ship searching their land for someone who could read his book.

“I knew the symbols from the cave of Alomun Kundi. I had no reason to distrust him. I’d never encounters people with so much hunger. Always hungry. When I saw Titus for who he was I refused to decipher another word. He promised to reunite me with my people. And he kept that promise. By killing them and impriosoning me here.

CRHS: Lovecraft Country Episode 4 - A History of Violence - Superficial  Gallery
Yahima Maraokoti, Episode 4

This moment reminds the viewer that Yahima’s story is the story of the genocide of Native Americans by European colonizers. Their lust for greed superseded their humanity. The Europeans callously caused the death of millions of trusting Native Americans in order to establish their own civilization on Native land.

More specifically the Arawak people are the Native indigenous people from the Caribbean and South America. They had a rich and deep culture that was decimated by disease and war brought by European conquerors.

Tic replies that Titus was a monster and that he is sorry and he needs to stop others like Titus from hurting his people. Yahima does not trust him even though they know Tic is not the cause of their suffering. He is not guilty of his forefathers sins but they do not know his spirit so they will not help.

Monstrose says “lets get the damn papers and get out of here.”

He grabs the papers and the windows break and the room is engulfed in water. As they all swim into the elevator, the papers get lost in the water. Leti notices this and fearlessly swims away to grab the papers as its floats away. Tic and Montrose hold the evaluator doors open for Leti. Leti swims back just in time and the evaluator goes up and the water levels subside. Once they are safe, Tic grabs Leti’s face and passionately kisses her.

As Montrose asks Yamima if they are OK, Yamaha lets out a siren like scream. Tic knocks them out.

Hippolyta and Diane are driving back to Chicago because Tic, Leti, and Monstros are now back in Chicago. Hippoltya notices Diana drawing in her atlas and she says we are driving to get some answers. They are headed to Ardham.

Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 4 Review: A History of Violence - TV  Fanatic
Tic and Yahima in a room communicating

Tic realizes that Titus has put a spell on Yahima and turned them into a siren. They are unable to speak once out of the vault. They do not believe they can break the spell. Tic tells Montrose he hopes to teach Yahima English and together they can translate the parchment.

Montrose tells his son you grew up to be a good man despite him being his father and that Tic’s mother would be proud. Tic is happy and emotional to hear these words from his father.

I am happy too that is until Montrose walks into the room and closes the door behind him.

The episode ends in the most horrific way imaginable with Montrose apologizing to Yahima before slicing their throat.

The episode ends.

I personally felt the senseless murder of Yahima was not necessary. I would be remised to not mention the fact that although Yahima’s character did not explicity identify as a trans person, the death of Yahima reminded me that today so many trans people in our society are murdered at an alarming rate. Even if Montrose had a reason for this killing, there is no just reason for such an unjust murder.

What an episode!I can’t even imagine at this point what ride Episode 5 will take us on! Stay tuned for my next recap & review.

My Pain is Real

The medical community has a deep dark history regarding the pain of Black women. Black women are seen as superhuman. The reason we are given this moniker is because no one seems to believe us when we say we are in pain. I have learned this the hard way.

Today I cried. I cried happy tears. I cried tears of anger. I cried tears of joy. And I cried tears of sadness. I was a whole crying mess. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of vindication and I was so excited about it.

Now I bet you’re asking? What happened? What was wrong? Or better yet what went right? Before I tell you what happened today, I need to first tell you about what led up to the events of today.

I grew up on a animal farm and helped raise a variety of animals including pitbulls, goats, sheep, and horses. I was a fairly active child and teen but rarely ever did long distance running. And when I say long distance running I mean I rarely if ever did any running. The few times I did run, my legs would start to cramp and I would quickly stop the running or jogging or fast walking that I was doing. So needless to say, since my pre-teen years I have had a disdain for running or generally any cardio exercise. In my mind exercise was equated with physical farm labor or correlated to painful cramps in my legs.

run running GIF

Fast forward to my college years, post baby and post baby weight, I wanted to lose weight. In order to lose weight I had to exercise. My friends tried to help me workout.They had great intentions and I wanted to exercise. But again as I would try to workout my legs, the cramps would come. My friends and family would encourage me to push through the pain and stretch out my legs more. Their encouragement and recommendations felt futile because the leg pain just would not subside. I resigned myself to thinking that exercise was simply not my thing.

Bad Run GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
Running in pain

As I grew older I continued to gain more weight. As I gained weight I struggled with diet and exercise. The diet part was fairly easy to change when I put my mind to meal prep but the exercise part remained my achilles heel.

From age 12-36, I have struggled with these severe leg cramp like pains. I’ve been told by numerous personal trainers, doctors, and friends and family (many in the medical field) that I just needed to stretch my legs and work through the pain. Exercise is painful but as you train your body through exercise the pain will subside. I tried this. I worked through the pain but once the pain got intolerable I would stop cold turkey. I hired many different personal trainers. I notified them of the limitations of my legs. they would be mindful at first but as we continued to workout together they continued to push me as trainers are trained to do. This lack of respect of my boundaries would eventually lead me to to stop working with them after I felt they were negating my complaints of pain.

fitness running GIF by Gunpowder & Sky

As time progressed this inability to exercise began to seep into my soul’s understanding of my self-worth. I saw myself as a lazy unmotivated person. A person who just would not overcome her fears and was simply a coward for not doing the work to exercise like I needed to in order to lose weight.

This year I was more purposeful about utilizing my health insurance. I have United Healthcare thanks to my job the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCCADV pays for employees’ health insurance. This was my second full year of having adequate insurance in my adult life.

the goldbergs television GIF

After trying to walk multiple miles a day, my legs continued to cramp up causing me excruciating pain. I refused to take “just stretch” as an answer anymore. I set up an appointment with my primary care physician and requested a podiatrist referral so they could figure out what was really wrong with me.

On August 5, 2020 I went to my doctor for my annual appointment and demanded that I be referred to a specialist. I said I wanted to see a podiatrist because I believed that my leg pain was caused by the way I walked. She recommended that I see a sports medicine doctor. My appointment with Dr. Lee at UNC Sports Medicine was scheduled for Sept 4th.

During my appointment with Dr. Lee, he asked me about my medical history regarding my bilateral leg pains. He listened to every work I said. He asked follow up questions. He answered every question I had about all of his questions. And finally he gave me a proposed diagnosis.

I think you may have Chronic Exertion Compartmental Syndrome.

Dr. Lee, Sept. 4, 2020.

“Huh? What in the word is that” I asked. He explained to me that it is a relatively rare condition that exists in certain people where the soft tissue around the leg muscles are wrapped too tight around around the muscle.

The pain increases in intensity as the patient continues exercising. An athlete will discontinue the activity when the pain, muscle tightness, or muscle dysfunction becomes unbearable. Pain and tightness resolve after a rest period. Patients typically describe pain as burning, aching, or pressure. A patient may also complain of being unable to achieve the same level of exercise the day after symptoms occur. Symptoms occur bilaterally 70–80% of the time [72529]. Other symptoms include numbness and tingling in the dermatomal distribution of the nerve running through the compartment or weakness of the affected muscle. A classic presentation of compartment syndrome would be a runner who experiences burning in the leg and numbness on the dorsum of the foot 15 min into a run. The burning and numbness resolve within 30 min of rest.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941579/

Before he could make a definitive diagnosis he would first need to perform a pressure test on both of my legs. The test required him to check the pressure in each of my lower legs and then check it again after I went on a treadmill and walked until my legs began to cramp. We scheduled the appointment for the following Friday, September 11, 2020.

I can’t lie y’all the test sounded extra scary. I was so scared to do the test that I called and canceled the test the morning of Friday, September 11th. I rescheduled it for the following Friday morning, September 18, 2020 which bring me to today – September 18.

Today was my appointment. I was ready for all the injections and the pain that was to come. I got to my appointment right on time for 9:15Am. My nurse for the morning smiled and eased my anxiety by letting me know that although it was going to be a difficult test, I will leave here with answers.

Nisha anxiously waiting in exam room of doctor’s office

I waited in the exam room for roughly 45 minutes until Dr. Lee, the nurse, and a student shadowing him entered the room. They entered with a rolling tray full of needles. Dr. Lee first made multiple markings on legs for where he would insert the needles. He then sprayed my right leg with numbing spray and inserted a needle with a numbing agent to numb the soft tissue in my leg. He did this twice on each of the sides of my lower legs. After waiting a few minutes for the numbing medicine to take effect, he then checked the pressure in two spots on both my legs.

He wanted to make sure I didn’t see him stick the long needle in my legs so he used his arms to block my view. As he inserted each needle I hummed and groaned along with the music I was playing in my ear. As the doctor asked me how I felt I replied “aight, I guess.” He responded with “I can’t tell if you being straight forward or sarcastic” and I replied “it’s both.” As he continued with each injection, I continued to hum out loud while digging my nails into my arm in an effort to distract myself from the pain. Singing was the pleasant distraction I needed.

After taking the pressure in my legs, Dr. Lee said “Wow those are some high pressure levels.” I asked somewhat sarcastically if that was a good or bad thing. He replied it is both. It is good because it is a good indication that his diagnosis was correct but bad because the numbers were abnormally high. What is the average baseline pressure? The baseline pressure is usually between 15 mmhg – 30 mmhg in a “normal” person but the pre-exercise pressure was 50 mmhg & 50 mmhg in my right leg and 60 mmhg & 57 mmhg in my left leg. Even though my pressure numbers were so high, Dr. Lee still wanted to do the exercise portion of the exam so that he could complete the test and fully verify his diagnosis.

If you are seeking to center your soul during a particularly scary medical procedure, listen to Leon Bridges’ song Coming Home. As the song came to an end, Dr. Lee finished his last injection. Now it was time for me to go on the treadmill.

Leon Bridge Coming Home

After wiping the blood off my legs from the injection spots, the nurse wrapped my leg with a lime green bandage. I put on my Machel Montano playlist to jam too as I began walking. I walked on the treadmill for about 7.5 minutes at speed of 3.5 before my legs began to ache and my feet started to feel numb.

Walking on treadmill.

Within a minute of being off of the treadmill, Dr. Lee quickly took the pressure again on the two spots on each of my legs. I heard him say “80 & 94” for the pressure in my right leg and then “107 & 87” for the pressure on my left leg.

The diagnosis was complete. It took 34 minutes to complete the test & validate 20 years worth of pain.

Dr. Lee told me that my next step would be surgery. I would need to have a surgical procedure done called a fasciotomy on both legs. This would involve cutting open the inflexible tissue encasing each of the affected muscles in both my legs. The surgeon’s office will be scheduling an appointment within the next week. This was just the beginning.

As I drove back home I tried my best to feel the feelings I was feeling. But somehow the feelings stay buried as the thoughts ran around in my head. I knew I was emotional but couldn’t seem to put into words what I was feeling. As I pulled up into my apartment complex, I began talking to my mom on the phone. I told her that the diagnosis had been confirmed and I would be having surgery on both of my legs soon. My mom was happy and excited for me . As she spoke I began to cry. Like the walls of a dam had fallen away, my tears began to gush out of my eyes. In that moment, all off of my emotions boiled over. As I sat in the car, tears flowed steadily down my face. I told my mom that I felt so overwhelmed with joy, sadness, and anger.

I was joyful because I finally knew what was wrong with me. I was sad because it took so long to get the answers I needed. I was angry because for decades I have internalized so many negative thoughts about myself that I have gathered from those doubting my pain and telling me to just grind through the agony.

excited done with finals GIF

The medical community has a deep dark history regarding the pain of Black women. Black women are seen as superhuman. The reason we are given this moniker is because no one seems to believe us when we say we are in pain. I have learned this the hard way.

“…having untreated pain can have long-term physical, psychological, social and economic consequences…pain that’s dismissed causes patients to have less trust in the medical system.”

https://www.today.com/health/implicit-bias-medicine-how-it-hurts-black-women-t187866

This superhuman strength of Black women is not just related to the medical community but to our larger community. Not only was my pain not believed by my previous doctors but also by my family, my friends, and my various my personal trainers. No one thought outside the box. Why would any think I could be suffering from a rare thing like Chronic Exertion Compartment Syndrome?

For so many years I have doubted myself and my pain, but thanks to the access to healthcare I finally have a diagnosis. My feelings have been validated with my diagnosis. Having health insurance has changed my life.

Happy The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air GIF

About 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance.

https://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html#:~:text=About%2044%20million%20people%20in,to%20them%20and%20their%20families.

Everyone deserves healthcare. It should not be limited to those with access to wealth or employer funded healthcare. So many lives just like my life can be transformed and saved with meaningful access to adequate healthcare.

This is only the beginning of my journey with my new diagnosis. I am hopeful that only good things will follow and maybe one day I will be able to run a mile with ease.

Lovecraft Country Sn 1 Ep 3 Holy Ghost Review

Holy Ghost takes the viewers on a wild trip reminding us that even after death, spirits both good and bad continue to live amongst us.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3: Easter Eggs And References In "Holy Ghost" -  GameSpot
Leti looking to the right with burning cross behind her.

Life after death while living in a racist’s haunted house is the basic over. This is an episode about the power and danger of grief, pioneering and spirits.

Leti, Tic, and Montrose are back in Chicago after their trip to the North. This episode takes us on a 10 (ten) day countdown giving the viewer the backstory to how 3 people went missing in the North side of Chicago after Leti moves into an old haunted house as the first black person in an all white neighborhood.

GRIEF

In season 1, episode 3 of Lovecraft Country we witness first hand how Leti, Tic, Hippolyta, and Montrose are coping with life after death.

Leti: Living life fearlessly to fill the void left by Death

Leti is back from the dead.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 Ghost House Explained

Episode 3 opens with Leti in a Black church surrounded by men and women singing, shouting, dancing and praising God. Leti sits calmly in church unable to find the emotions necessary to praise God even though she has just escaped literal death through a magical resurrection. Leti is trying desperately to see through her tears what drives the praises of those in church. She is still unable to stand up and sing the praises to God Almighty. Is it because she knows it was Samuel’s magical spell that brought her back to life and not the God those in church are praising?

Leti has decided to take life by the horns and intends to ride it until she is thrown off. Leti has come into some money and a house in an all white neighborhood. This dilapidated looking house has 3 floors, 13 rooms, and a barely working elevator. Leti is almost decapitated by the barely working yet seemingly abnormally fast elevator. Leti invites her sister Ruby to move in along with Leti’s artistic friends. It is Leti’s hope that a house full of black people will hopefully show strength in numbers in order to keep the racist white neighbors away. 

Leti Takes on Evil Spirits & Racist Neighbors in 'Lovecraft Country' Episode  3 (RECAP) - TV Insider

Throughout this episode we will see how Leti faces the dangers of her racist white neighbors, local police captain, and unruly ghosts without fear. She channels the internal strength she has gained post resurrection to do what she wants to do – which is live in her new house.

Hippolyta: Wearing a mask of strength

When we see Hippolyta for the first time since her husband’s death, she looks poised and present. As she sits at her dressing table we see her open one of George’s favorite books, Dracula. She begins to rip pages out one by one. Channeling her pain and anger with every torn page. She stares at herself stoically. She knows she is the only person she can truly share her pain with.

Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

We then see her in the kitchen with Tic and Diane. Her face is again masking her ever present pain. She is annoyed that Tic is making breakfast and keeps leaving wet cups turned over. That is not how George does it, Hippolyta tells Leti later in the episode. She is frustrated with Tic that he sent the travel guide out for publishing without telling her and before she could edit it.

Hippolyta is like so many strong black women in American history. Hippolyta has a daughter to care for and George’s travel guide business to maintain. She does not have time for a mental breakdown. So she cries in private and wear a mask over her pain in public even if the public is her kitchen. Hippolyta and Diane still long for the presence of their patriarch. Uncle George presence is a void missing from their home.

The stereotype of the “strong black woman” is more than just a cultural trope: Many black women in America report feeling pressured to act like superwomen, projecting themselves as strong, self-sacrificing, and free of emotion to cope with the stress of race- and gender-based discrimination in their daily lives.

Kara Manke https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_the_strong_black_woman_identity_both_helps_and_hurts

Leti, Tic, and Montrose have brought back Uncle George’s dead body and concocted a different, less magical version of Uncle George’s death. Hippolyta is told that Uncle George was killed by a Sheriff who was later killed by Tic and Montrose. his version of events does not sit right with Hippolyta.Hippolyta attempts to call Montrose out on the missing pieces surrounding her husband’s death. But in typical Montrose form, he dismisses her concerns.

Later in the episode at Leti’s housewarming party we Hippolyta find a golden solar system model. She is intrigued. This solar system looks magical to the viewer. We learned earlier in the episode that Montrose did not want to reveal this magical universe to Hippolyta because he thought it was too much for her to bear. Hippolyta is left to figure out this toy without the assistance of Montrose and Tic. Now imagine if she knew about all the magic they had previously encountered she may have been more willing to share her new find with her family.

I wonder what this solar system model is?

HBO's Lovecraft Country: 9 Most WTF Moments From Episode 3 - CINEMABLEND

Montrose: A drunken, distant angry state

“We can’t do shit”

Montrose

Montrose decides to put himself in a drunken stupor in order to deal with the pain of the loss of his brother and pushes away Tic. Montrose refuses to honor his brother’s dying wish to take care is Tic. Instead he ignores Tic and pushes him away despite Tic’s request to spend a few nights at his home since Tic has worn out his welcome at Hippolyta’s home. “We can’t do shit” is Montrose philosophy. Montrose is resigned to ignoring the residual trauma of his kidnapping and his brother’s murder.  

Struggling With Death - Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 3 - TV Fanatic

Tic: Doing what needs to be done

Tic is trying to fix everything and for everyone by trying to do what he thinks they need to be done.  He has stepped into Uncle George’s role by cooking breakfast and cleaning dishes. He takes care of Diane and Hippolyta until he wears out his welcome. His presence is just yet another reminder to Hippolyta that her husband is gone.

Although Tic is present for Hippolyta and Diane, he has ignored Leti since Uncle George’s funeral three weeks that is until he arrives as her new house to tell her goodbye before he leaves for Florida since he was no longer welcomed at the homes of Hippolyta and Montrose. Tic intended to return to Florida even after Leti offers him a room and board at her new home. It is only after Tic realized that Leti’s white neighbors are not going to be a nuisance but dangerous does he decide to stick around a little longer.

Pioneering

De-segrating a white neighborhood is dangerous business.

As the episode continues we soon realize that Leti is not just in any house but a haunted house right in the middle of an all White unwelcoming neighborhood. Her contemptuous neighbors make themselves known to her by parking their cars in front of her house and tying bricking on their steering wheels so that the noise of the blaring horns could torment her and cause her to leave. The local police actively co-sign this criminal behavior as they drive past the blaring horns coming from the neighbors cars with smirks on their racist white faces.

Leti refuses to let this shake her. As she lays in her bed waking up from her sleep we see the ghost of a black woman with half of her face torn off. This ghost is a scary sight to behold. Leti however does not see this ghost. Leti instead gets out of bed to shut the window to close off the noise of the blaring car horns. Leti then notices the moisture on her window.

Leti, a woman who can take care of herself, goes down to the basement to inspect the boiler. She find that not only is it overheated but the knob is off of the boiler. She uses a wrench to turn the boiler down. After she turns the boiler down, she hears a banging sound coming from the other side of the room along with muffled voices. As she searches for the origin of the sound she find an empty room below the basement.

Leti brings Tic down to the basement to show him the weirdness that is this new found room. She tells him something is not right with this room. He tells her maybe its her imagination playing games with her after all that she has recently experienced. She tells him that she knows she is not a figment of her imagination. Tic beleives that the neighbors torture tactics may be working. He names their use of the noise and alleged tampering of the boiler as tactics he saw ultilized during the Korean war by soilders to torture people.

These same torture tactics continue to be used even in modern war conflicts. The Bush administration infamously used these methods during the Iraq & Afghanistan wars in attempts to get detainees to confess.

https://www.hrw.org/report/2011/07/12/getting-away-torture/bush-administration-and-mistreatment-detainees

Leti pushes back on Tic’s theory reminiscent of when Tic reminded her in the episode 2 that he knows he wasn’t suffering from shell shock. Tic believes her. He offers to board up the windows. Leti thanks him and tries to hold his hand but he pulls back and changes the subject.

Leti refuses to let the white neighbors torture tactics win. She decides to throw a massive house party in her new home. Leti is dancing throughout the house taking pictures of her guests and tenants that are enjoying the live band and Ruby’s singing and dancing.

As Leti is dancing with a man, Tic walk through the door in his full military uniform. Tic is hopeful that his uniform will put the white neighbors on alert.

Tic sees Leti in a beautiful turquoise dress. As she grinds her body on her dancing partner she gazes lustfully at Tic. As Tic is getting his bearings together, Tree, another man from the neighborhood leans over to Tis questioning if Tic and Leti are an item. Tree insinuates that he has slept with LEti during high school. Tic turns away and continues to stare longingly at Leti.

Leti then goes to the bathroom to wash the sweat off her face and chest. As she bends to splash the water on her we see behind her another grizzly looking ghost. But Leti does not see the ghost’s reflection in the mirror, instead she sees Tic’s reflection as he stands in the doorway lustfully gazing. He comes into the bathroom, grabs Leti, hoists her up on the sink and they do what grown folks do. Once finished, Tic notices blood, Leti tells him she has just started her monthly cycle. Tic is not bothered by the blood and they leave the bathroom.

We next see Ruby having a conversation with some party guests discussing her many attempts to get a job at the local department store. She says she will never give up. Ruby says “if more colored folks thought like me the race would be much further along.” Just as Ruby finished speaking, they notice a red glow coming from the window. There is a burning cross in their front yard. Leti has had enough. She takes her bat, Jackie Robinson style, and knocks out all The windows and removes the tapped bricks for the car. Joyful gospel music plays in the background as fearless Leti wields her bat and destroys the property of her awful white neighbors. Moments later police arrive and takes Leti into police custody.   

Cross burnings was another tactic utilized by White Americans to terrorize Black Americans and continues today but with much harsher consequences.

“Obviously once upon a time this was very much a Deep-South phenomenon, but now, neither the Klan nor things like cross burnings are limited to the South,” he says. “The mythology is so well-known that you’re as likely to get a cross burner in Minnesota as you are in Georgia.”

LAUREN KIRCHNER, https://psmag.com/news/cross-burning-is-more-common-than-you-think-72781
Lovecraft Country Episode 3: 45 Thoughts I Had While Watching

Leti is taken in the back of a police van with a white police captain named Lancaster. He questions her and when she refuses to answer his questions he uses the police van as a weapon on her. Leti’s body is thrown around the van while the police captain holds onto a grip. Leti’s body laid battered on the flood. Her head and her lip bleeding but he could not break her spirit.

This scene was eerily reminiscent of the death of the Freddie Gray. His death occurred after an arrest for possessing a knife (which was actually legal) and after he was given a “rough ride” in a police transport van. All police officers involved were acquitted at trial.

Death of Freddie Gray: 5 Things You Didn’t Know

After being harrassed and brutalized by the police officers, Leti learns more details about the house. She learns that the house was owned by a scientist Hiram Epstein who was infamous for doing scientific experiments on people. Leti also learns that Captain Lancaster may have been working with Epstein to perform his ghastly experiments on missing black people.

Lovecraft Country: Episode 3 Review - IGN
Tic and Leti reading

Leti know believes that the spirits of eight black people that went missing under Captain Lancaster’s watch are haunting her house along with the ghost of Hiram Epstein. She seeks out a Creole woman to ward out the evil spirits. She is able to summon the ghost of Hiram Epstein but he is too strong and kills the woman and then inhabits Tic’s body. Hiram through Tic attempts to murder Leti. Leti isn’t stronger than Hiram but she knows those who are – the eight spirits haunting this house.

Lovecraft Country: Episode 3 Review - IGN
Ghost of Hiram Epstein surrounded by the spirits of the people he killed

She calls out their names one by one. She says their names. They need to remember that they were not just victims of this monster but that they were once human. She needs them to save themselves and to save her and Tic. As she calls their names and continues to chant in Creole all the spirits begin forming a circle around Tic/Hiram and join hands with Leti. They together united in destroying this monstrous ghost are able to banish Hiram Epstein’s sinister soul from Leti’s house.

The episode ends with Tic confronting Christina at Leti’s realtor’s storefront. Tic has realized that it was not Leti’s mom that got her this house but it was Christina. Christina wants Tic to find the Book of Names for her and she knows it is in Hiram’s house. Tic attempts to shoot her but cannot because she has an invisibility spell on her. She reminds Tic that she is a white woman and shooting her is the last thing he should try to do.

Holy Ghost takes the viewers on a wild trip reminding us that even after death, spirits both good and bad continue to live amongst us.

Lovecraft Country Sn 1 Ep 2 Whitey’s on the Moon Review

Episode 2, Whitey’s on the Moon, is a tale of two quests.The first mission is one of honor and heroism and the second mission is one driven by ego and selfishness. Throughout this episode, those on the noble mission are tested and terrorized by the seemingly well meaning white folks and are reminded of invaluable lessons.

Critiques Séries : Lovecraft Country. Saison 1. Episode 2. - Critiques  séries et ciné, actu - Breaking News, ça déborde de potins

Episode 2, Whitey’s on the Moon, is a tale of two quests. The mission of the Black travelers – Tic, Leti, and Uncle George is to find and rescue Montrose Freeman, Tic’s father & Uncle George’s brother, from his white kidnappers. The mission of the white antagonists, Samuel and Christina Braithwhite is to open the portal to the Garden of Eden so Samuel can gain immortal life.

The first mission is one of honor and heroism and the second mission is one driven by ego and selfishness. Throughout this episode, those on the noble mission are tested and terrorized by the seemingly well meaning white folks and are reminded of invaluable lessons. The travelers quickly learn that those ‘kind’ white people have much more nefarious motives.

****Spoilers Below****

Episode 1 ended with with Uncle George, Tic and Leti arriving at a castle- like mansion in Ardham, Mass. An impeccably dressed WASPy (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) man named William answers the door and welcomes them in with no questions asked even though they are covered in blood. 

Lovecraft Country: Season 1/ Episode 2 "Whitey's On The Moon" – Recap/  Review
William welcoming Tic into the Ardam Manor

***Are you sure you want to keep reading? There are Ep. 2 Spoilers below!***

Lesson learned: Don’t let your guard down even when you think you are safe.


This episode begins with the famous theme theme song from the Jeffersons “Movie On Up” by Ja’net Dubois. The Jeffersons was an iconic Black American TV sitcom that lasted 11 seasons. It featured the story the Jeffersons who had moved from Queens, NY to Manhattan, NY into what they believed was the good life that so many Black Americans in the 1970s and 1980s sought to achieve. However like Leti and Uncle George, the Jeffersons would learn that even with all their beautiful lodging they were still Black in a White America and would continue to encounter hardships because of their race.

“Fish don’t fry in the kitchen; 
Beans don’t burn on the grill. 
Took a whole lotta tryin’ 
Just to get up that hill. 
Now we’re up in the big leagues 
Gettin’ our turn at bat.”

Ja’net Dubois’s theme song for the Black American sitcom The Jeffersons

Episode 2 begins with George and Leti living their best lives. Dancing to their internal joy. George is studying a bookshelf full of his favorite books
and Leti is in her room modeling the perfectly tailored clothes found in her bedroom’s wardrobe. Both Uncle George and Leti are blinded by their joy and fail to realize the strange conicidence that their favorite items just so happen to be in this white house. 

Leti and Uncle George are unaware that they are under a spell that has blocked their memory of the traumatic events the night before. Tic is the only one who has retained the memories of the attacks by the terrifying Shoggoths.

At breakfast Tic attempts to explain to Leti and Uncle George that their memory has been blocked. He reminds them that they had to escape murderous sheriffs as well as the shape-shifting monsters. He told them he even had to kill a sheriff who turned into a Shoggoth.

“I shot the Sheriff!

Tic

“You shot the Sheriff?!”

Leti

“I had to shoot the Sheriff!”

Tic

Is it just me or did you giggle at this scene remembering the classic Warren G song.

Lovecraft Country - what time is it on TV? Episode 2 Series 1 cast list and  preview.
Tic, Leti, and Uncle George talking and eating on the Verdana of the Ardham Manor

Rather than engaging in a debate over the alleged memory loss and magical monsters, Uncle George reminded Tic and Leti to be mindful of their surroundings.

“We are being watched. Sit down. We are not splitting up. We are staying together and we must be discrete.”

Uncle George

Even if Uncle George may not fully believe Tic’s version of last night’s events, Uncle George is acutely aware of his surroundings. He is aware that white people are never this friendly without an ulterior motive. He knows that they cannot let their guard down.

While walking into the village, Tic overhears Leti and Uncle George questioning Tic’s mental sanity and wondering out loud if this is a result of shell shock from Tic’s time at war.

Symptoms included fatigue, tremor, confusion, nightmares and impaired sight and hearing. It was often diagnosed when a soldier was unable to function and no obvious cause could be identified. Because many of the symptoms were physical, it bore little overt resemblance to the modern diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/shell-shocked

Tic very sternly reminded them that none of this makes sense. That he is in fact not suffering from Shell Shock and that it is Leti and Uncle George who have been blinded by the distractions of their favorite books and perfectly fitted outfits.

Lesson learned: Always stay on alert even around white women.

Lovecraft Country: American TV shows its true colours. And it's exhilarating
Uncle George, Leti, and Tic looks at a white woman holding tightly onto two barking dogs.


While traveling in the village, Tic, Leti, and Uncle George encounter barking dogs and their white female dog owner. The travelers are immediately taken aback by the snarling animals and their white owner. Black Americans have had a tenuous relationship with dogs when they are in the hands of their white owners. Dogs have been used as an enforcement tool of white supremacy.

The lash and shackles remain the major symbols of physical degradation fixed in historical memory on slavery.5 Yet, as recounted by witnesses, including slaves themselves, the dog was perhaps a more effective tool for managing labour or even inflicting horrific pain or death on those who defied their masters’ commands. 

Slave Hounds and Abolition in the Americas by Tyler D. Parry, Charlton W Yingling https://academic.oup.com/past/article/246/1/69/5722095

The travelers do not heed to the multiple warnings by white people throughout the episode to return to the manor before dark. As they are walking back to the house at night in the woods they find themselves attacked once again by the ugly and terrifying Shoggoth monsters. Before the Shoggoth’s kill the Black travelers, Christina comes to the rescue blaring the whistle that send the monsters away. As quickly as the monsters disappear so does the memory of the encounter in Uncle George and Leti.

Christina explains to Tic that the spell is for anyone who encounters the Shoggoth and survives the attack.  We also learn that the Shoggoths are magical monsters owned by the Braithwhites that are kept as their personal guard animals. Tic’s lack of memory loss is because he shares a common ancestor with the Braithwhites.

Christina says to Tic “not all us white folks are out to get you.” This could not be more further from the truth.

Lovecraft Country recap: season one, episode two – have you guys not seen  Get Out? | Television & radio | The Guardian
Tic trapped in his room while Christina stares at him

Throughout Episode 2, Christina Braithwhite, the daughter of Samuel Braithwhite attempts to endear herself to Tic. She positions herself as a friend to Tic. Tic rebuffs her attempts because Tic is a Black man in America in 1955. He understands that white women have been just as complicit in the enforcement of white supremacy over black people and their bodies.

This is highlighted during Tic’s various interactions with Christina. Tic requests Christina lift the spell off of Uncle George and Leti. He thinks Christina has acquiesced to his wish to lift the spell but quickly learns that she has now trapped each traveler in their respective rooms to live out another terrorizing experiment as white lodge members watch gleefully the Black travelers in mental and physical anguish.

Magic in Light and Dark: Lovecraft Country, “Whitey's on the Moon” | Tor.com
White Club members watching the torment of Tic, Leti and Uncle George

Later in the episode as she watches her father shoot Leti and Uncle George, Tic screams for Christina to help him. Christina stares silently not moving one inch to assist him despite her earlier statements that she is not a bad actor.

Christina proves the age old Black addage “Do not trust white women.”

Lovecraft Country Episode 2 Explained | What Happened in Whitey's on the  Moon?
Samuel and Christina Braithwhite, Father and Daughter

Later in the episode, Christina reminds Tic that she as a woman is still afforded less rights than he a Black man. Because Tic is a direct descendant of Titus Braithwhite, he can still be a member of the fraternal order and he can be ‘a son among sons.’ As Tic puts on the Braithwhite ring on his finger, Christina says “I could have never earned one of these no matter how hard I try and you can earn one just by being born a man – not even a white man at that.”

Her statements are often mirrored in today’s dialogue on the intersections of race and gender when white women in particular bemoan their struggles against the patriarchy and reiterate that Black men were still given certain American rights. The most famous of this was the right to vote.

What Christina and many white women fail to understand is that through their alignment with white men they were and still are able to wield power against Black bodies be they men or women. Even with the passage of the 15th Amendment and subsequently the 19th amendment, the government enacted a variety of poll taxes on both Black men and women from being able to cast their votes.

While the women’s suffrage movement had its roots in the anti-slavery movement, early suffragist leaders including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony would later split off from their alliance with abolitionists. They were outraged that, under the 15th amendment, Black men would get the vote while white women were still denied.

https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/904730251/yes-women-could-vote-after-the-19th-amendment-but-not-all-women-or-men

This false narrative espoused by Christina that Tic is better off as a man is also highlighted in the continued racial wealth gap that existed in the 1950s and continues to exist today.

There is a greater gender wealth inequality when looking across individual racial lines. Per the 2015 Asset Funders Network report, the median wealth of White single women was $15,640. Yet, the median wealth for single Black women and Latina women was $200 and $100 respectively, about one cent for every dollar of White women’s wealth. On the other hand, while White men’s wealth was $28,900; Latino men’s wealth was $950 and Black men’s wealth was $300, about three cents and one cent on every dollar of White men’s wealth, respectively.

https://inequality.org/racial-wealth-divide-snapshot-women/

Lesson Learned: Trust yourself

After the spell is broken giving Leti and Uncle George their memory back, they are each confronted with a realistic yet still imaginary encounter. 
Leti is consoled by Tic. He kisses her and comforts her as she is coming to terms with her recent travel traumas. He reminds her that he will never abandon her as we know Leti has a fear of abandonment that stems from her relationship with her mother. As Tic attempts to have sex with her she pushes him away but he refuses to stop.

As a viewer I knew this was not Tic and was terrified for Leti. But one thing we have learned from Leti is that she is a fighter. As fake Tic takes off his pants off showing a literal snake ready to strike Leti, she is able take control of the situation by grabbing a knife and fighting for her life.  Leti is a survivor and she survivors this attempted attack.  

As Leti is fighting for her life, Tic is engaged in hand to hand combat with the same Asian woman we saw in Episode 1 dressed as a princess in Tic’s dream sequence. We still do not know who she is. But this version of her is attempting to kill Tic and he is in a battle for his life wrestling her on his bedroom floor.  
Tic strangles her and cowers in terror and sadness hoping and praying this is all but a dream. 

Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 2 Recap
Uncle George dancing with Dora, Tic’s mother

Meanwhile Uncle George sees his true love Dora, Tic’s mother. Unlike Leti, Uncle George knows immediately that this is not real. Yet he still dances with her. He talks with her but eventually pushes away because he knows this is not real. 

Uncle George is a wise man.

We see that the white dinner guests of Sam Braitheite have been watching the travelers in amusement as they are each trapped in their respective rooms. 

Five Thoughts on Lovecraft Country's “Whitey on the Moon” – Multiversity  Comics
Uncle George embraces and whispers to Tic and Leti

Once they are let out of their rooms, a traumatized Tic attempts to explain what happened at war in Korea. Uncle George reminds Tic and Leti to never forget who they are.

You know who are are. You were a good boy. And you are an even better man. Don’t ever let them question yourself. They want to make us scared and terrorize us. But we don’t get scared!”

Uncle George

Lesson Learned: Literalism is for the simple. 

Tic and Uncle George are invited to dinner with Samuel Braithwhite and the other members of the Order of the Ancient Dawn. As dinner is served, Samuel notifies his guests that he is serving them them a piece of his rib to consume as Adam gave his rib to Eve in the story of creation. Uncle George firmly tells Tic to not touch that food.

Uncle George confronts the members of the Ancient Dawn with information he was able to acquire while in the manor’s library.

He learns that Tic is a direct descendant of Titus Braithwhite, the founder of the Order of the Ancient Dawn. Tic’s mother’s ancestor was a slave named Hanna who escaped her master’s burning house. Hanna was pregnant when she left the house. There were no other survivors. The man who owned Hanna was Titus Braithwhite.

Earlier in the episode, William states to the Black travelers that Titus was known to be notoriously “kind” to his slaves. This was code for the fact that he, a slave owner, was having sex with his slaves. Today we would more accurately call rape and not kindness. Language matters when assessing the ills of history. 

Southern women often marry a man knowing that he is the father of many little slaves. They do not trouble themselves about it. They regard such children as property, as marketable as the pigs on the plantation; and it is seldom that they do not make them aware of this by passing them into the slave-trader’s hands as soon as possible, and thus getting them out of their sight.

Harriet Jacobs on Rape and Slavery, 1860, https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/the-cotton-revolution/harriet-jacobs-on-rape-and-slavery/

Uncle George continues with his history lesson by teaching the members of the fraternal Order of the Ancient Dawn about the founding of the Prince Hall Freemasons. Uncle George is a member of the fraternal Order of the Prince Hall Freemasons. He stated that the founder of his fraternal order, Prince Hall, a free African-American man attempted to join the white Boston’s St. John’s Lodge after the Revolutionary War but was rejected because he was Black. Prince Hall went on to create his own Freemason Lodge which was founded on September 29, 1784. The Prince Hall Freemasons remains the oldest and largest Black fraternal order in the United States today.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2p37.html

Although Tic Freeman could not join the Order of the Ancient Dawn because he was a Black man, he could still join because the rules allowed automatic entry to to the order because he is a son among sons, a direct male blood descendant of the founder, Titus Braithwhite. In fact, Tic is the last living male heir to Titus Braithwhite.

Samuel Braithwhite wants to be Adam. He believes that he is entitled to go back to the dawn of time so that he can step into his rightful place. However, he cannot do this alone he needs Tic’s Braithwhite’s blood to complete his spell. 

Samuel’s straightforward plan fails to take into consideration the power and magic in Tic’s blood.

Meanwhile, Tic is narrowly focused on is finding his father and getting his family and friend out of the Ardham Manor safely. He will do what needs to be done to save them.  

After dinner, the Black travelers leave the mansion to find Montrose. Tic and George attempt to rescue their father in the basement of tower like structure in the village but are caught by the white woman with the dogs we met earlier but guess who saves them again – Letitia fucking Lewis.

They do not find Montrose in the tower because Montrose has saved himself by digging and crawling his way out of captivity like in the Count of Monte Cristo. 
When they find Montrose it is then that Tic learns that his father was forced to write the letter and that he never expected Tic to come. We immediately feel like disdain that both father and son have for each other.

lovecraft country episode 2 - KVSP Power 103.5
Montrose, Tic’s father stares outward, exhausted

As the group of four now try to escape out of Ardham their car suddenly crashes into an invisible brick like wall totaling their car. Samuel and Christina arrive on the scene with Samuel holding a gun. Samuel shoots Leti without hesitation. We see Leti die in Tic’s arms.

Magic in Light and Dark: Lovecraft Country, “Whitey's on the Moon” | Tor.com
Leti shot, falls down in pain

Uncle George is then shot. Tic is given a choice – to save Leti and Uncle George and participate in Samuel’s ceremony. 

Samuel intends to use Tic to open the Garden of Eden so he can walk into the garden and gain immortal life. Samuel’s leverage is his ability to bring back Leti from death and to heal Uncle George with his magic so long as Tic complies with the ceremony. Tic witnesses Leti come back to life through a magical opening in the wall.

Lesson: Secret stay secrets

As Tic is preparing for the ceremony, and a traumatized newly resurrected Leti’s cries alone, Montrose and George discuss family matters.

The brothers speak of Dora, Tic’s mother. George ponders on why Montrose never drew Dora. Montrose told George that he stopped drawing after their father “beat the black off his ass” after he was found at the bus station the summer before high school drawing pictures of the Negroe League players. George was saddened by this story. He didn’t know that happened to Montrose.

“That’s the problem I’ve been shutting up far too long” George had an intimate relationship with Dora so George knows that Tic might not be Montrose son. This is a secret that Montrose is not yet willing to confront even as George is knocking on death’s door.

Montrose has many secrets that he is not yet willing to share with his brother, his son, and the viewer. I suspect that we will come to find out many more of Montrose’s secrets throughout this season.

Did Uncle George Die in 'Lovecraft Country'?
Uncle George in pain looking at his brother

Lesson: The White man’s fantastical dreams will be achieved even in the midst of the suffering of Black people.

As we see Tic’s body becoming a vessel to open a portal to the Garden of Eden, we hear the 1977 spoken word of Gil Scott-Heron ‘Whitey on the Moon.’

‘Whitey on the Moon’ speaks on the living in the land of two worlds that is the United States of America. As white America is lambasting the miracle of a white man on the moon, the narrator recounts his family’s struggle with poverty which includes paying medical bills for his sister who was bit by rat, paying for the high price of groceries, paying for the ever increasing rent as well as paying American taxes. Whitey keeps taking the Black man’s money even though the Black man has to struggle to survive off of his limited income. Whitey then takes this money and endeavors to go into space and walk on the moon all the while ignoring the pain of poverty amongst Black people.

Official Audio of Gil Scott-Heron Spoken Word Whitey on the Moon.
Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 2 Recap
Samuel Braithwhite stares menaceingly
Magic in Light and Dark: Lovecraft Country, “Whitey's on the Moon” | Tor.com
Tic engulfed in magical power

As Tic is being used as a vessel for Samuel’s spell he sees his pregnant ancestor Hanna who looks at him. Tic channels the power of the magic in his blood and burns everyone in the room. The building around him beings to fall around him. Samuel’s body alongside the other members of the Order present become dust. Tic runs out and follows Hanna as she escapes out of the burning building. Their journey to the first door of the house mirrors each other’s escape from their respective Braithwhite’s burning mansions. Tic’s maternal ancestor guides him to safety just as the castle crumbles behind him into ashes. 

Once again a Black woman saves the day and saves Tic. Where would Black men be without the heroism of Black women, both dead and alive? This moment reminds me that our ancestors are with us even if we do not know their names. They work through us. They are us. They have already saved us without us knowing their intrinsic value.

Lovecraft Country: Season 1/ Episode 2 "Whitey's On The Moon" – Recap/  Review
Hanna, Tic’s pregnant ancestor in an entryway with fire around her.

An expasperated Tic turns around to find Leti and Montrose alive, the same could not be said for Uncle George. Tic knows this without Leti having to tell him. Samuel Braithwhite died before he could heal Uncle George. Tic finds Montrose crying and holding his dead brother’s body in the back seat of their car as “River” by Leon Bridges plays in the background and the camera fades to black.

Lovecraft Country: Major Character Dies In Second Episode
Tic consoled by Leti staring into car.

The Episode ends. Uncle George is dead and I like you am heartbroken!

Y’all that episode felt like a season finale and yet it was only the second episode! 

What will episode 3 bring? 

Lovecraft Country: Sn 1 Ep 1: Sundown Review

An upheaval of stereotypes is abound in episode 1 of the new HBO series Lovecraft Country. This review takes a look at how the writers brilliantly upended a variety of Black stereotypes.

Lovecraft Country is an action/horror series set in the American Midwest and North in 1955 told from the vantage point of its majority black cast. The creator of the series Misha Green gained well-deserved praise with her previous black historical drama series Underground that aired on WGN America for two season (2016-2017). Both Underground and Lovecraft Country puts on full display the struggle and survival of Black people throughout American history without the filtered white gaze.

Today as we are presently living through the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, Lovecraft Country feels eerily relevant in the moment we are living through. Black people are fighting the invisible monster of COVID-19 and racism and yet and still the scariest of the two remains racism just as in Lovecraft Country.

HBO's Lovecraft Country Exposes the Dark History of America's "Sundown  Towns"

****Spoilers below****

An upheaval of stereotypes is abound in episode 1 of the new HBO series Lovecraft Country. This review takes a look at how the writers brilliantly upended a variety of Black stereotypes.

****SPOILERS BELOW****

The series begins with the protagonist, an African-American Korean War veteran named Atticus (Tic) Freeman fighting for his life in the trenches in what seems to be the Korean War but as the camera pans outward we notice the sky is red and there are flying saucers and alien-like machines splattered throughout the screen. Tic looks to the sky and sees a beautiful Asian woman with red colored skin descending from the flying saucer. Tic embraces her as if he has found his true love. She and Tic are suddenly attacked by an alien-like monster and are rescued by the iconic Jackie Robinson wielding his bat and wearing his famous Dodgers 42 baseball uniform.

Jackie Robinson defeating a Lovecraft alien monster with his bat.

Tic wakes up from this dream and in his lap is the novel ‘A Princess of Mars, a book about an ex-confederate soldier, John Carter who is magically transported to the Mars. In the novel, John Carter fights aliens and falls in love with a Martian princess. Tic was dreaming of himself as his own version of John Carter.

Tic longs to be a character in pulp story where heroes get to defeat monsters and save the day. Little does Tic know that he is about to live out his fantasy and be a Black hero in world full of magic and mystery.

Stereotype: Black people are uneducated.

Truth: Black people value education & read A LOT.

This show does not just break this stereotype it demolishes it. Throughout this episode and this series we see how much value is placed on reading and education in the lives of the Black characters. So often Black folks have been relegated to playing roles in film and tv as uneducated people who are in desperate need of a White person to bring them education (Dangerous Minds, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Blindside) but not in Lovecraft Country.

Uncle George loves to read in particular horror. His favorites include H.P. LoveCraft’s Outsider & Others; whereas, Tic’s father vehemently disliked Lovecraft because of the racism he often spewed in his work. ‘On the Creation of N—–s’ was a Lovecraft poem that Tic’s father made him memorize so that Tic can remember that authors like Lovecraft do not write books for Black folks and so he should stay away from those writings.

Tic returned home to Chicago because his father is missing. Tic received a letter from his father stating that he found out information regarding Tic’s deceased mother’s family history and he wanted Tic to come home so they could travel together to learn more about her family secrets. Tic was confused that his father’s letter was poorly written despite his father’s love for education. This was a clever foreshadowing tool used by the writers to let the viewers know that something sinister is afoot.

Tic reading novel John Carter on the side of the road.

Stereotype: Only the South Segregates.

Truth: The North is just as racist and segregationist as the Jim Crow South.

Tic is in the back of a bus in the “Colored Only” section with a Black woman. They have just crossed over a bridge named after some “dead white slave owner.” Tic flicks his middle finger out at the Welcome to Kentucky sign and says “Good riddance to Old Jim Crow” as the bus crosses over the Kentucky border into Illinois. Unfortunately the bus breaks down and everyone has to get off the bus. When new transportation arrives, this transportation is for whites only. There are no words said on screen but the viewer knows what Tic knows – that the new transport is not for Black people. Tic and the Black female passenger are left to walk to rest of the way alone.

Tic and bus passenger standing outside broken bus with their bags.

The common stereotype is that the Jim Crow South was the only place where racists and segregationists lived. Black Americans knew this was a false narrative, and now through Misha Green’s brilliant guidance the Lovecraft Country viewer is too learning that even in Illinois, Black people felt the fear and power of Jim Crow.

In 1955 Jim Crow was as American as apple pie.

We learn that Tic’s Uncle George is a traveler and writer of The Green Book. The Green Book is was a travel guide created by Black people to let other Black people know where it was safe to travel. Uncle George has suffered the consequences of traveling while black – two shattered knee caps he received while traveling. Black people knew very well that knowing your surroundings matters when traveling as a Black person in America.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/02/real-green-book-preserving-stories-of-jim-crow-era-travel/583294/

Stereotype: Black families are rare.

Truth: Black families exist.

We see a Black man in love with his Black wife and cherishing their child. We meet Uncle George, his wife Hippolyta, and their artistic daughter Diane. We see the delightful bedroom talk of a husband and wife. We see them make love to each other in the light of day. We see a beautiful Black family in their kitchen hugging and welcoming the newly arrived Tic back home.

Diane, Hippolyta, and Uncle George – a Black Family smiling
wunmi mosaku gifs | Tumblr
Ruby and Letti singing and dancing in Episode 1 of Lovecraft Country

Stereotype: Black people are dangerous.

Truth: Black community is safe.

We are given a front row seat to a fun black party where we meet two other main characters Leticia (Leti) and her sister Ruby. The two sisters perform for their community. The neighborhood is overflowing with Black faces smiling, singing, and dancing together. There are no white people. There are no police. There is only Black joy.

It is only once they leave their community do they find themselves in danger’s eyesight. Uncle George, Tic and Leti leave on their mission to find Montrose, Tic’s father. The journey from Chicago, Illinois to Ardham, Massachusetts proves to be the most horrific part of the episode.

Stereotype: Black women are weak and inferior.

Truth: Black women are heroes.

Leti saves the day twice in this episode. First she successfully drives away from White people chasing them in cars with guns after they attempted to eat at a white diner. As Leti is driving away from a barrage of bullets, Uncle George repeatedly refers to her as girl. But Leti does not have time for that. She firmly reminds him – “My name’s not ‘girl’. It’s Letitia fucking Lewis!”

Letitia Lewis | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
Letitica driving reminding her passengers exactly who she is.

Leti saves the day a second time after successfully out running the multiple-eyed monsters, Shoggoths. She is forced to run to the car under the cover of darkness because the hateful racist police officers refused to let Tic run. Even while trapped in a cabin with three black people, the two injured white police officers refused to let their racist ideologies go even when in the midst of being chased and mutilated by the Shoggoth monsters. Leti did not let her fear stop her. Her fear fueled her for the run of her life. She made it to their car just in time to save Uncle George and Tic from certain death.

lovecraft edition | Tumblr
Leticia running covered in blood
Racism – Geeking Out about It
Leti saving the day by throwing flares at the Shoggoths.

Stereotype: Monsters do not exist.

Truth: Monsters do exist. White people living in the North were dangerous and racist.

In episode 1 we meet two different types of monsters – one based in fantasy and the second based in reality. The Shoggoth monsters are ameoba-like creatures with multiple floating eyes and hundreds of teeth that are afraid of light and can turn its victims into Shoggoths after biting them much like a vampire.

The second monsters were the white people acting out their racist ideologies. These monsters included the white men at the gas station mocking Tic by mimicking a monkey. The white women who giggled at the sight of the mockery. The white people who chased down the traveling group after they attempted to eat in a diner they erroneously believed served Black people.

Lovecraft Country's Sundown County Chase is the Scariest TV Sequence in  Ages | Decider

The scariest of the monsters was the Sheriff who threatened to shoot Tic, Uncle George and Leti if he found them still in his county after sundown. Leti’s brother, Marvin warned them that this particular Sheriff was infamous for killing black people. They were warned to steer clear of him, but he still found them.

The Sheriff chased them out of Devon county in what was slowest, most terrifying car chase scene I have ever seen. I was filled with dread listening to Uncle George countdown the time till sundown and watching Tic drive no more than 25 MPH.

Even though they made it safely across the county border, that same Sheriff along with other police officers presumably from the neighboring county were laying in wait for the traveling group. The police officers took Uncle George, Leti, and Tic into the woods ready to lynch them. Lynching was common place in the mid 20th century throughout the US. If not for the sudden arrival of the fantastical Shoggoth monsters, the Black travelers would have most certainly met untimely and tragic deaths.

Episode 1 ends with Tic, Leti, and Uncle George surviving a myriad of monsters.

Music From Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 1: "Sundown" | Lovecraft  Country Doesn't Just Have Terrifying Monsters, the Soundtrack Is Also Scary  Good | POPSUGAR Entertainment Photo 2

What will episode 2 bring?

I can’t wait to find out!

By: Nisha Williams

Fancy Baby

Young Nisha, age 4 looking at the camera.


At 4 o’clock on 2.22.84 Nisha Gloria was born in General Hospital located in Port of Spain, Trinidad 🇹🇹 to a Registered Nurse & Policeman. Little did she know that by 5 she would be living in Brooklyn & needed to know all things American. She came to NY with her mom and 2 younger siblings. By 10 she moved from the BK to North Carolina. She moved there with her mom & stepdad & 3 younger siblings. In NC she lived on an animal farm and lived that country girl nerd life. Finally it was time to leave home at 18 for college. She wasted no time being grown bc within a year she gave birth to her own child Louis Blanton at the age of 19. For the last 17 years she has raised a whole child as well as graduated college, law school, and excelled in the practice of law. She has lost, she has loved, she has cried and she has smiled. As a perfectionist I am often dismayed at where I am but that’s because I’ve failed to appreciate who I am and where I’ve come from. I’m happy to be 36. I love who I have become. If I could tell baby Nisha anything it’s that this life is yours and you should live it for yourself and not anyone else!#babyfancy #thatfancylife #aboutme

Nisha Williams looking into the light above smiling.

Black Lawyer Mentorship Matters

Attorney Nisha Williams standing next to her legal intern Ania Gatewood at the Durham Courthouse. Both are wearing masks to ensure safety while working in the courthouse during a global pandemic.

“Nobody makes it alone. Nobody had made it alone. And we are all mentors to people even when we don’t know it.”

Oprah Winfrey

This summer was a summer in which I continued to go to court in the midst of a COVID-19 while taking on mentoring a first year law student, Ania Gatewood from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She and I both learned on the spot how to work together and serve clients while in a global pandemic. It remains my goal as an attorney to mentor black women law students because we (black women) need to be able to see ourselves in the courtroom. I am thankful to know her and to continue our new found friendship for years to come! She is going to be an excellent addition to the NC Bar come 2022! 

#wedidntmeantotwinbutlookatustwinning #blackladycourtroom#attorneynisha #legaleagles #ncculaw#thatfancylife

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