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 Qualified Immunity can be repealed through state & federal legislation.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.”

#blacklivesmatter # sayhername #BreonnaTaylor

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.

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.


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.

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

Black Female Lawyers Matter

Attorney Nisha G. Williams pictured standing in front of the Granville County, North Carolina Courthouse.

Black female attorneys make up on 3% of the total attorney population. We are undervalued, underpaid & overworked. We provide the nuance of intersectionality through the wisdom of our life’s experiences. In the midst of the pandemic I have continued to go to court to represent clients in need of civil restraining orders from their abusers. This year I celebrate my 11th year as a licensed NC attorney. I remain thankful and humble to have this honor to represent folks as their legal advocate in a courtroom. #blacklawyersmatter #blackladycourtroom #attorneynisha#thatfancylife

Mommy Please

19 year old Nisha holding premature baby Louis at the Erlanger NICU Hospital on July 8, 2003.

A tear slid slowly down my face as the doctor’s words rang in my ears like a blaring train whistle. “We have to deliver your baby today. He is not producing enough amniotic fluid to sustain himself in your uterus.” The doctors had no idea why my baby’s amniotic fluid level was so low, so the only option was early delivery. My body trembled with fear as I realized the enormity of having a baby one month early. However, in spite of the turmoil that reigned in my mind, I softly replied, “Do I have a choice?”

I was scared. I was not prepared to give birth. My husband was at work, my entire family was in another state, and my first Lamaze class was scheduled for the next day. However, I heeded to my doctor’s orders. He said, “If you want your baby to live, we have to do this now.”

It’s an unbelievably lonely feeling walking into a hospital without anyone by your side. I felt like a science experiment as I lay on the hospital bed with an endless number of wires attached to my stomach. Doctors and nurses flowed steadily in and out of my room, checking and double checking on me; however, there were still no family or friends. 

As an idealistic young woman, I had always envisioned childbirth as a joyous event. I imagined being surrounded by family and friends from start to finish. I also believed the pain would be lessened through the companionship of my loved one, and most importantly I dreamed of taking home, two days later, a healthy baby boy. However, this childbirth would not follow my dream, instead key family members were absent and my baby’s premature birth required an extended stay.

Mommy, please

After two hours of waiting by myself, friends began to visit me. Although they were not my best friends, I readily accepted their company; however, the person I longed to see the most was my mother. For months my mother and I had planned that she, my sister, and my mother-in-law, Dorothy, would drop everything and rush from North Carolina to Tennessee when I went into labor. 

Then, with one heartbreaking call, all of our plans were shattered. Two hours after being admitted, my mom called and told me that my coldhearted stepfather, taken by caprice, didn’t think she needed to leave right away. He decided that she would wait until the weekend to see me. Apparently her obedience to my stepfather was far more important than the birth of her first grandchild. 

I begged her to come, but the best she could do was pay for a bus ticket for my mother-in-law. She said “at least Dorothy would be there.” I continued to push and plead with her, “Mommy, please, I need you.” But the answer was still a tearful no. My mother was my anchor, and suddenly without her, I felt like I was all alone, drifting in an ocean by myself. 

Once again, I was heartbroken. I was watching my dream of the perfect childbirth slip away right in front of me, and I had no control over it. Not only did I have to give birth early, but now my mother was not going to be present. One kind nurse, Angela, saw my tears and told me, “Don’t worry; everything will work out.” While in the face of utter loneliness and sorrow, her thoughtful words brought me a brief moment of solace. She was right. This was not about my mother because I was about to bring a precious new life into the world. 

Later that afternoon my husband, Willie, arrived at the hospital. His presence brought me peace. He sat beside me and held my hand. He was my rock in the midst of my storm.  

Stop Screaming

Because I was having a baby one month early, my body was not ready for delivery, so I had to be induced. On the first day, I was given Pitocin, an inducing agent that thins the wall of the cervix. This was not painful, but when the doctor broke my water at four the next morning my body immediately began to ache. Although my husband strongly disagreed with my new decision, he still stood by my side. 

At four in the afternoon, I went into hard labor. The hospital staff quickly sprang into action. The delivery room felt like a subway car during rush hour. Because I was about to have a premature baby, there were about four doctors and five nurses helping with the delivery. This chaos only made me more anxious. 

As the doctors told me to start pushing, I began to panic. I had no idea of what to do. As I pushed, I screamed in pain. However, I was shocked to hear the nurse firmly say, “Stop screaming, it’s using up your energy.” I couldn’t believe that she had the audacity to tell me how to handle my pain. But after twenty-four minutes of strenuous pushing, a tiny, weak five pound baby boy named Louis entered the world. 

Lessons Learned

After Louis was born, he was quickly rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I longed to see my son but was prohibited until my son became stabilized after his arrival. It wasn’t until after midnight, eight hours after I gave birth, that I was able to hold my son. 

My eyes swelled as Louis shyly gazed into my eyes. He was as fragile as a porcelain doll. I was terrified of holding him. I feared that my soft grip would break his tiny bones. Although Louis was small, he was still strong and stubborn. The NICU nurses laughed as they recalled how Louis constantly ripped his feeding tubes off. His strength and resilience gave me the courage I needed to leave the hospital without him since the doctors would not release him until he was eating and maintaining his weight. This process took two weeks. 

On July 24, 2003, I welcomed my son home. My childbirth experience was not the fairy tale I expected—I gave birth one month ahead of schedule, my mother was absent, and Louis remained in the hospital two weeks too long.

Despite the grim events surrounding Louis’s birth, I learned that childbirth is a selfless act. This experience was not about my fairy tale but about Louis’ arrival. As I watched Louis quietly sleeping in his bassinet, I softly whispered a prayer. “Thank you, Lord, for bringing Louis into my life.”

Nisha Williams, age 35 hugging her 16 yr old son Louis both smiling.

Written October 24, 2005 for writing course in college.

Pretty Hurts: The Generational Impact of Colorism & Obseity.

Today I received an apology I was not expecting. I could hear her voice crack as she said those much needed words “I am sorry.”

Now you must be wondering what did she do? What was wrong?

Today my mom and I talked to each other about our weight and why each of us continues to struggle with our weight today. My mom is 6o years old and is overweight. I am her oldest child and am 36 years old and am currently obese. We are both in individual therapy working on making ourselves better people.

My mom shared with me her reasoning for why she struggles with weight. It rested in her value of herself. Growing up in a house full of light skinned siblings and parents, she was the one dark skinned girl. She believed she was the ugly one. She vividly remembers her family members referring to her “neg” short for negro. She remembers family naming her light skinned sisters as beautiful and naming her as lazy. During her teen years she resolved that she would not live up to the stereotype of “lazy” and worked diligently to become successful which she in fact did. But as she became more and more successful she still felt this unnerving feeling that no matter how successful she was she would never be beautiful because of her darker complexion.

Gloria Benoit, pre all the babies.

My mom has 4 children. At the time she got pregnant with me she was 5’5″ and 140lbs. At my birth she weighed 160lbs. She was able to lose the weight but within 2 years gave birth to my sister and settled on 160lbs. 2 years later she gave birth to my brother and gained 20 lbs and weighed 180lbs. 3 years later she gave birth to her last child and weighed 200 lbs. The baby weight that she gained within a 8 year period drastically impacted her self-worth. Food was her secret friend. The friend that she could soothe her in hard times. Despite her financial success, she still felt not worthy. Somehow food gave her the validation she sought from others.

Gloria (mom), Nisha, Reyad, Sally. Our first family portrait after moving from Trinidad to NYC.

My grandmother was also obese and struggled with her relationship with food. My grandmother was the mother of 8 children and lived with a raging alcoholic for decades. My grandmother continued the legacy of shaming fat women even though she herself was fat. This belief that fat was not beautiful was not a creation of my mother but was passed down to her from her mother and subsequently passed down to me. My love for my grandmother knew no bounds which may also be why I too latched on to her fat shaming ideology.

My mother as a child pictured with her mother, Florence Benoit holding a new baby sibling.

My grandfather, Carlton Benoit pictured with his 8 children in Trinidad. Cynthia, Gloria, Sharon, Junior, Clary, Claudette, Robert, Carl. My mom Gloria, is in the white shirt in the middle of the picture taken in 2009 after my grandmother’s death.

Now at age 60 my mother is fully coming to terms with how she used food to self soothe her anxieties of feeling less than.

The dred that came with living with dark skin carried into her pregnancy with me when she was 25 years old. She a black woman from Trinidad had 3 children with an Indian man from Trinidad. She said that when I was born I was the most beautiful baby she had ever seen. When she said it it sounds like an exaggeration but to this day she firmly believes it. The reason she found me so beautiful was because of my complexion. I was born very fair skinned. “You were a white baby, Nish. I actually thought many times that they gave me the wrong baby.” There was an unspoken weight lifted off her shoulders when she saw my fair skin. She was happy that she was able to bring into this world a beautiful “white” baby.

As I got older, my skin got darker and yet she still saw me as the most beautiful child she had. Throughout my childhood I was constantly affirmed by my mother and my extended family as beautiful. This heavy reliance on my beauty created confusion within my young soul. As a child I was socialized to believe my worth was directly proportional to how “beautiful” I was. Regardless of how smart I was, beauty was the standard to which my worth rested firmly on.

Nisha (me) holding my mother’s hand while she held my baby sister Sally in her arms.

I left for college a slim tall girl weighing 145lbs at 5’7″. Months later visiting my family at Thanksgiving dinner the conversations revolved around my weight which at the time was 155lbs. “Nisha done gained some weight.” My weight gain seemed to align with a seemingly decrease in my beauty. I held on to this in my soul. The week after I visited my family for Thanksgiving I learned that I was pregnant.

8 months later, at age 19, I gave birth to a 4lb 15oz baby boy named Louis. I was 180lbs. I vividly remember the depression that came with seeing my fat post baby belly. The conversations amongst my family began immediately – “Nisha what are you doing to lose the baby weight.” I could no longer fit into any of my pre baby clothes. Because I was only 19 I also had no idea that the post baby weight might linger around. Instead I focused on the celebrities who had babies around the same time as me who were able to lose the baby weight quickly. Why not me? I was devastated. Little did I know I was suffering from post partum depression. It was during that period that my relationship with food became toxic.

Food was my secret friend that was always there for me when I was in need. My mom and sister constantly nagging me about what I was eating and how much I was exercising led to me to keep food my secret. I couldn’t let them know how much I relied on my friend food. How when I was unhappy in my then marriage, it was food who comforted me. But as I ate I also gained weight. As I gained weight my beauty and subsequently my self worth drastically diminished. A year after giving birth I had gained an additional 30lbs and at age 20 I was 210 lbs. 200 was the ugly number. Size 16 and up was even uglier. As I gained weight I looked at myself and no longer saw a person of value.

Today in my conversation with my mom, I shared my stories with her. I told her how her constant pestering about my weight negatively impacted my view of myself. It also impacted my “why” for losing weight. For me losing weight was about appeasing and pleasing my family members and not for my own personal health or self-worth. I wanted to be affirmed again by my family and I could not find that in a plus size body.

Now that I’ve given this context, I bet you’re wondering how is this about colorism?

My black mother did not think she was beautiful because she was socialized to believe that her skin color was not beautiful. My birth and my “white-like” features finally validated her worth. She, dark-skinned Gloria, was actually able to make a light skinned baby. So much of my worth was inextricably connected to her worth. I was socialized within that value system. I had to be pretty and I had to maintain that beauty.

Growing up FAT was not seen as pretty. So as I blossomed into my womanhood as a fat woman I could no longer see beauty in me. I shared this with my mom.

There was silence on the phone. By this time we had been speaking for over an hour. She was at work and I could hear her whisper “Nish.” I could hear her voice crack and silence followed. Then she said “I’m sorry.”

She told me that I was always beautiful in her eyes. No matter what weight I was at, I was always in her eyes beautiful. She apologized for not making that more clear to me. and for displacing her personal childhood trauma on me.

I thanked her for hearing me and validating my emotions. I told her that I I recognize as an adult woman and a mother that this thing we call parenting can create insidious consequences on our children that we did not purposefully intend to create.

She and I together are working on breaking up this trauma that is our family history. It is not easy work but it is the work of her lifetime and my lifetime.

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