Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., On the Desk...

Closing Out Another Year…Saying Goodbye to 2021!!

Another day gone, Another month passed, Another year for the books. 2021 was meant to be a year of recovery and renewal, and in many ways it was just that and in others…well I have no words to describe it. For me personally 2021 was a year of celebrations, milestones, and eye-opening experiences. So much happened that I had to put it in a post, and even when I think about all that I do remember there is still so much more that happened that I probably missed.

Alright because there is no avoiding this topic COVID-19…In 2021 we finally got vaccines and boosters…A few variants named Delta and Omicron would rock the world and really shake things up…We would have a few celebrities who all of sudden became PhD’s and MD’s over night, overshared, or did foolish things under the umbrella of corona (yep talking about you Nicki Minaj, Gal Gadot, Antonio Brown, Aaron Rodgers)…CDC shortening the quarantine time

Through this recovery and renewal we did get to see our favorite sports games in full swing with the 2020 Summer Olympics happening in July…the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA Championship 50 years since their last one…that UCLA vs. Gonzaga NCAA Final Four match-up…and in true fashion the induction of Kobe Bryant into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame¬†

We FINALLY got that Justice League: Snyder Cut (worth every bit of the 4 hours and 2 mins)…We were blessed with Nia DaCosta’s Candyman and the fineness that is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II…I will never look at Red-Light, Green-Light the same, Thank you “Squid Game”….As I said in a previous post we saw the end of an era with the series finale of Issa Rae’s “Insecure” (THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!) this show’s impact goes way beyond the screen…It felt good to be back in the movie theaters even if I was masked up…HBO Max’s “Succession” and “And Just Like That”…Lady Gaga and House of Gucci…The MCU came back strong on both television and film…and we also got Coming 2 America

In the music world we got some closure with Britney Spear conservatorship…a new album “Heaux Tales” from Jazmine Sullivan (we had been waiting since 2015), Thank you Jazmine!!…Questlove brought us “Summer of Soul” (a true gift that you can check out on Hulu)…Travis Scott & Astroworld… Verzuz gave us Chaka Khan/Stephanie Mills, Keith Sweat/Bobby Brown, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Three Six Mafia, Big Daddy Kane/KRS-One

As the title of this post reads, “Saying Goodbye to 2021” there are a few things that simply get a N’SYNC ‘Bye Bye’ and nothing more. We got to say #ByeBye to #45 and good riddance. #ByeBye to the Cuomo Brothers. #ByeBye to the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, VA, definitely glad I do not have to pass that anymore.

The Oh My Goodness Moments…January 6th-Capitol Attack (I remember that day so vividly)…that Meghan and Harry interview with Oprah…the partial collapse of a 12-story condominium in Surfside, Florida…Juneteenth became a federal holiday…Lil Nas X shoe saga…Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb”

Convictions were handed down to Derek Chauvin, Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan, Kim Potter, Ghislaine Maxwell and for a few moments the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Daunte Wright and the numerous girls and teens were given some sort of justice.

Oh and we can’t for get the random things that elevated our lives, changed the game, and even give the side-eye. Who would have thought the air fryer would make such a huge impact. Total Game Changer!! A few smh moments like the #MilkcrateChallenge, the coin shortage, Bernie Sanders mittens, The Weeknd’s performance at Super Bowl LV, Clubhouse came and made a splash and well…and the viral video of the white woman hiding a stuffed Lynx cat in her bosom…the petition to stop interviewing Will and Jada Pinkett Smith

Celebrating Life…A Memorial…Just when I think I get over one loss, then comes another and another…2021 is no different. Before January 2021 ended we lost a gentle soul of a woman Cicely Tyson. I had just picked up her memoir and was preparing to dive in, let’s just say her presence was definitely felt as I voraciously read through each page. Tyson would only be the beginning…We would also lose some heavy hitters in the acting world my DST soror Suzzane Douglas, Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Micheal K. Williams (This man was just hitting his prime!! You definitely have to check out his catalog of work), Melvin Van Peebles…some HUGE icons that really hit home for me Anne Rice, Beverly Clearly (need to go pull out my Ramona Quimby & Beezus and Ramona books), archbishop Desmond Tutu, bell hooks (her work will forever live through my research), Gloria Richardson (a civil right pioneer)…music legends Mary Wilson, Biz Markie and DMX…Sports legends Hank Aaron, John Madden (I just knew he would live forever), Tommy Lasorda, Elgin Baylor, Leon Spinks…the first African American Secretary of State Colin Powell…Prince Phillip…cultural personality Larry King…and a final tribute Men’s fashion style icon Virgil Abloh…

Let’s Talk Mental Health…Thank you Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for giving us a live and in living color definition of mental health preservation…

The Elements definitely had their way in 2021 with the tornadoes ripping through Kentucky and other parts of the Midwest and South…Hurricane Ida…Winter Storm in Texas…Wild fires in Colorado…Heatwave in Oregon

Can’t forget some #DropTheMic Moments Nikole Hannah-Jones being denied tenure at UNC-Chapel Hill but then making a boss move becoming the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s School of Communications…HBCU’s partnering with the tech world to address the diversity gap…Joy Reid becoming the first Black woman to host a primetime talk show on a major network¬†(MSNBC)…Deion Sanders changing the football game via HBCU Jackson State University…

2021 also brought us a lot of Fashion Moments ranging from Michelle Obama and Amanda Gorman’s inauguration outfits…the Met Gala…Pyer Moss (Kerby Jean Raymond) became the first Black designer to present at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week (C’est Magnifique!!)

Now personally 2021 was the year I turned 40, I got to go on a few trips in and out of the U.S. (Oh I how I miss that Dominican coffee and beautiful sunshine)…I was back in-person in the classroom…I dealt with trauma, anxiety, and depression (always a work in progress)…I made it through my first year as a tenure-track professor…I got Vaxxed and Boosted…learned a lot more about myself…continued to navigate finding that ultimate balance…and one of my proudest moments, I launched Black Future Feminist!!

We will see what 2022 brings us…

~Dr. G

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

Happy Birthday to Me!! Reflecting on 40!!

Another year around the sun, for the 40th time!! Wow time truly does fly when you are having fun!! I have been looking forward to this birthday, and here it is!! Today is a big deal, because (in the age of COVID-19) many have not had the privilege to turn 40 let alone have another birthday!! I get the opportunity to breathe life, run through the ocean, hug my mama, mentor a student, and be a better person!!

Leading up to today I had many thoughts of fear, excitement, joy, curiosity, amazement,… In many ways turning 40 actually feels easier than turning 30. Turning thirty was strange, it was emotional, it was supposed to be exciting, and it was another year of life (that I am thankful for)!! This birthday is one where I am not asking for much, just to be on someone’s beach reading a good summer book. Thankfully I get to do this twice, one on my actual Birthday and again in a few months. Reflecting on my last years of 30s, I realized how much I really enjoy the simple things in life. Don’t get me wrong I like the pomp and circumstance, but I can take it in moderation (lol). The small wins, the little joys that really does work for me.

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40 is one of those milestone birthdays where you either feel like you are getting old or you are re-evaluating life, and it definitely is the latter for me. So much has happened all before this birthday…I lived on both coasts of the U.S., traveled extensively throughout the world, bought a house, got my PhD, in a career that I love, watched my mom retire after 30+ years of work, move to a city that I love, and so much more!! When I think back on all those memories I have truly been blessed and continue to see those blessings!! Going into 40, I felt like I had to check off all these boxes, and grant it I did, but as the weeks and days got closer to August 16th I began to have this sense of clarity and ask myself a few questions. Are you happy Grace? What do you want to achieve that you have not? Is there room for flexibility? What have you let go? And are you putting in the work to make sure you are healthy and happy? These are questions that get answered, but sometimes are asked again, and I’m good with that. Talk about maturing!!

So what’s next…In this new year, new chapter, new book I am taking some sage advice that I got from a good friend of mine…be intentional in not just one aspect of life but in ALL parts!! I have learned that I put 100% (sometimes even more) in my professional work, but when it comes to my personal I will short change myself, and that is not fair. If I can give my all into my work, I should be able to do the same and more for my personal aspects of life. Sometimes you need those reminders, because I know I deserve the best so why not give and treat myself to the best!

On last week I posted a joke about how I was almost 40 but still felt like I’m 20, until I hang out with actual 20 year olds and then I realize, nope Grace you are not a spring chicken lol! But guess what I am totally fine with this realization. These days I treasure taking a nap, I listen to my body when it says it’s getting late time to turn in, I value sitting in my silence and clearing my thoughts, the simple things in life!

So as I walk, better yet stroll into this new year I continue to embrace this adage that my grandma always told me, “One Day at a Time!”

I am very much looking forward to what this year has in store!!

#Hello40 and Welcome to the Party!! Let’s have some fun!!

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