Latest MUSED Article – Looking For Black Leadership? The Savior Lies Within

Image courtesy of MUSED.
In my latest article for MUSED “Look For Black Leadership? The Savior Lies Within,” I propose the (urgent) need to look within ourselves to find the leadership we so desperately crave.  Some of us have penchant expectations that our leaders are the answers to fix the many ills which plague our community.  While leadership is an important part of the process, we cannot deny the power we have to create the change we wish to see.  For more, check out my article on the MUSED site.  Feel free to share and comment!

MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering “digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about” (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.


Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 


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Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

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Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 10

It’s been a little while, but a new set of weekly musings is finally here! Check them out:

  1. Just when we’re thinking of or are at the point of giving up, something miraculous happens…A thought, idea, experience, action, or person inspires us to press on. And just like that, we resume our course–fighting harder than ever before.
  2. It amazes me how quickly misunderstandings arise.  Some of us are so quick to jump to conclusions long before we’ve allowed others to express themselves.  We disrespect others when we cut them off.  We can also make them feel as if we’re discrediting them and that their point of view holds no value or weight with us.  Active listening and thinking carefully before responding are so crucial when we communicate with each other.  It lessens the chances for misunderstandings and potential conflict.
  3. No one is beyond reproach. We tend to pump people up, especially leaders, public figures, celebrities, and even ourselves.  But no matter how good we are or whether we’ve been called the best at what we do, we aren’t too good to be critiqued.  If this was the case, we wouldn’t have performance appraisals or reviews at work.  We also know that as long as we as a race of beings exist, we will talk about and criticize others no matter what.  But there’s a time and a place for it.  And if we’re going to criticize others our criticism should be tactful, relevant, and helpful. (And as the saying goes–if you can dish it then you can take it.) 
  4. Sometimes it’s best to take a step back and let others shine.  Can’t always be in control.  Never should we allow our egos to hold us or others captive.  Under no circumstances should we try to dim others’ light.  Everyone deserves a shot.  How else would we have made it thus far?
  5. Personal decisions are just that.  We should never feel like we have to explain ourselves to anyone.  If those who expect or feel as if we owe them an explanation are in no way impacted by our decisions, then they deserve absolutely NO explanation.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

In Honor Of Our Mother (For Rosa Parks)

Image courtesy of the AlterNet site.

 
Today is Rosa Parks birthday.  Often dubbed the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, she would’ve turned 100 today.  We owe much to Rosa Parks, and it’s important that we honor her legacy.  In agreement with Rachel Griffin’s article on the Ms. Magazine Blog, we need to praise Rosa Parks for doing more than refusing to give up her seat on a bus.  In continued praise, I’d like to share the following poem from my book Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics:

In Honor Of Our Mother
For Rosa Parks

Legend,
Icon,
Hero,
Mother of a Movement:
Those are just some of the terms often used to describe Rosa Parks.
As Nikki Giovanni described her, she was a woman “who did an extraordinary thing.”
She exemplified strength, dignity, humility, and great character.
She was a leader who devoted her life to fight against injustice.

And on December 1, 1955
After living in a time of segregation,
After living in a time of inequality,
After living in a time when we were considered less than human
Rosa said enough is enough.
She was tired of being treated as “less than”
Because she knew were so much more.
It was time for the tables to turn,
And to reclaim our freedom.
In that moment, when she refused to give up her seat to a white man,
When she refused to go to the back of the bus,  
Her life, the brothers and sisters of the Movement, and our lives changed forever.
Her act of defiance caused us to rally together to fight for our civil rights,
So that we could free ourselves and this nation. 

Rosa’s actions should serve as an inspiration
To stand up against any act of hatred, intolerance, prejudice, or discrimination.
So when you feel any form of injustice taking place, be it racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and
     the like,
Stand.
When you feel that your or someone else’s rights are being trampled over,
Stand.
If one person’s or a group of people’s rights are being neglected, disregarded, or deemed null and
     void,
We are all affected.

Don’t be afraid to go out on that limb
And do what’s right.
Don’t be afraid to be like Rosa
And do the extraordinary thing.
Because change will only happen when we allow it to
When we’re ready to accept it into our lives—
When we’re ready to take on the position and follow through with our actions.
Only then will we see the outcome;
And we all will feel it.

It speaks volumes when a nation mourns the loss of an individual.
And when our nation mourned the passing of Rosa Parks, it was a defining moment,
For she become the first woman to lie in the Rotunda of the US Capital.
Because many of the rights we take for granted were fought for by people 
Like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, Thurgood Marshall, Medgar Evers,
     Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height, Paul Robeson and Mary McLeod Bethune.
It begs to question, when our foremothers and forefathers see us carrying on the way we do each day,
     are they proud?
Do they feel that we are honoring their legacies?
Do they think we’ve turned our backs on the fight, our rights, our people, and personally, ourselves?

All the more reason why we should continue to honor, celebrate and commemorate Rosa Parks,
Because we’ve come a long way,
And we still have a mighty long road to follow.
And if Rosa had not refused to give up her seat,
Our fight along this road would’ve been a great deal longer.
History would be quite different, and so would we.

So bask in the glory of Rosa Parks and that moment.
Be grateful for the work and the many achievements of 
Rosa and the other brothers and sisters of the Movement.
And please don’t forget your ties,
And your obligation to honor, and when called upon,
To strengthen the legacy.

May the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks, rest in peace! 

© 2012 BuddahDesmond 

Happy Black History Month!

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.

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Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 9

Greetings all!  It’s February (already).  Hope 2013 is going well for you so far.  If not, do all that you can to make it better.  On that note, let’s move right in to the latest weekly musings.

  1. There’s so much pride in knowing, recognizing, and celebrating where you come from.
  2. Knowing (and continuing to learn) your history can revitalize or reinvigorate your spirit, inspire you, motivate you, and influence your life’s path.
  3. Having a strong support system that builds you up and truly believes in you, especially when growing up, can have an overwhelming impact on your self-esteem, confidence, and drive to go after your dreams.
  4. You’re greater than your circumstances.  Don’t let your circumstances define you.  There is life, a better life, beyond your circumstances.  Once you realize this you can overcome anything.
  5. Never let the light inside of you die.  Let it shine.  Let it shine!
  6. We’re reflections of each other.  If we could love ourselves more we could love each other a lot more.  There’s no telling what the outlook of our lives and this world would be if we had more (real) love.

Until next time…peace, love, and many blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

BuddahDesmond Full Poetry Reading from OutWrite 2012 [VIDEO]

Finally, the full video of my reading as part of the head/heart/soul poetry event from OutWrite 2012.  The following poems were recited: “Prevail,” “Gone Too Soon,” “Tonight,” “Power of Love: A Contemporary Aside,” “Luther Is Love,” “Past, Present, Future,” “Everyday Drugs,” and “Politicking.”  These poems are featured in Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics.

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.    

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Weeky Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 8

Greetings all! Here’s the latest round of weekly musings:

  1. It’s hard having faith in a system that’s broken.  Or if not completely broken, a system in need of major rehab.  While there may be people in positions working to fix the system, resistance, backbiting, partisanship, and corruption prevent change from taking shape.  One day… Just maybe one day this won’t be the case.
  2. I hope I never get to the point where my personal interests take precedence over all, especially when they are to the detriment of those around me.  Sometimes you need to take a step back and think about the short-term and long-term impact of what you do and the effects it may have on others. 
  3. When only you and those like you are winning, everyone else loses.  We can’t win when self-serving and party-serving interests take precedence over the needs and interests of the larger society.  Until we get back to “WE THE PEOPLE,” everything will fail.
  4. There’s an “unwritten” code or script in life that many of us follow.  Within this code or script lies expectations about the type of life we should live, how and where we get educated, the field of work we go into, who we love/marry, the type of community we live in, etc.  Now there’s nothing wrong with following this code/script…as long as it provides you with the life you truly want.  The big “Oops!” or “WTF!” moment for many of us comes when we realize that following the code/script hasn’t fulfilled us (at all).  A gaping, persistent void will figure prominently until we feed our souls what it’s been missing and revive the dreams that died on the way to PC, cookie cutter living.
  5. College isn’t for everyone.  Marriage isn’t for everyone.  Having children or parenting isn’t for everyone.  Corporate America isn’t for everyone.  Christianity isn’t for everyone.  Everything isn’t for everybody.  Just because it’s working for you doesn’t give you the right to force it on to others or expect everyone else to do as you do.  Just live and let be.
  6. Confidence is a light that shines through.  When it’s peaking, everyone can see it.  There’s a certain assurance and glow about you.  Everyone can see it, feel it when it’s dim too.  Oh, the difficulty trying to convince others of anything when you don’t have the confidence or belief in yourself. 
  7. You cannot fully embrace/accept the love you need/want or be able to successfully sustain any romantic relationships unless you truly love yourself.  The inability to love yourself makes it virtually impossible to love anyone else (at least in the way they need or deserve to be loved). 

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 7

Here’s the latest weekly musings:

  1. Not sure there’s a harder sell than making others believe in something when you don’t believe in it yourself. Persuasion/buy-in often fails without conviction, confidence, and universal appeal.
  2. The more you accumulate in this life, the harder you’re going to have to work to maintain it.  So many of us are out here living lives we don’t want to live and working ourselves into an early dirt nap each day just to maintain things we don’t need. When our world suddenly changes and all these “things” we’ve accumulated go to the waysides, then what? “Things” don’t make us. But they will break us if we place more value in them than living a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life.
  3. There’s something about the simple life that becomes more and more appealing the older I get. I’m striving for it. A simple life doesn’t mean a boring life. It means living within your means. It means striving for a stress-free/drama-free life. It means living to truly love yourself and not looking for value and esteem in superficial and materialistic things. The simple life means being happy and content. It means counting on your joy through it all and having success on your own terms. The simple life means balance.
  4. Change is inevitable. There’s nothing any of us can do to stop change. We may be able to place roadblocks in its way or try to prolong the shelf-life of the traditional ways of yesteryear. But change will eventually take shape and form just the way destiny intended. Governing bodies, institutions, organizations and people have all been forced to change with the times. Our modern world is no different. Embrace it!
  5. Maybe some, not all, of us forget that celebrities and public officials are human too. They’re everyday people with more high-profile occupations. Putting the obvious differences aside, they have the same basic needs as us and often experience the same things we do. (Don’t let the “celebrity life” fool you into thinking otherwise.) So it makes no sense that we put them on pedestals so high even they can’t compete with themselves. And then we want to shame, blaspheme, and condemn them when they do things that we don’t agree with. Our society gets kicks out of building people up and tearing them down. Just think about how it would feel if their shoes were on our feet.
  6. I imagine if love were a tangible commodity that it would sell out each time it hit the shelves. Marketing campaigns would be out of this world. Businesses would face fierce competition year after year, as the industry and consumers would determine who creates and sells love the best. I figure love as a commodity would always be trendy, never going out of style. Because it’s something everybody wants. Sadly, we fail to realize that love is always in our midst.

Time for Change: Love’s In Need Of Love Today

Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to every-body
What I’m about to say
Could mean the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far

~ “Love’s In Need Of Love Today,” Stevie Wonder, Songs In The Key of Life (1976)

There was a certain point after hearing about the tragedy in Newtown, CT on Friday, December 14, 2012 that the tears couldn’t help but fall.  I was stricken with an unsettling sadness, worry, and horror.  Immediately, I wondered how and why something like this could happen (again)?  What was it in the shooter’s life that brought on a period of acute psychosis such as this?  And how long will it take the people of Newtown (and the neighboring areas) to get back to some sense of normalcy, especially those families suffering from the loss of those they loved?

While I may never completely understand the situation, what I do know is that many of us are troubled…  So much so that we’re slipping through the tracks.  We’re either blind-sighted to the warning signs or ignore them altogether.  Looming in our room is a pink elephant which continues to be neglectedmental illness.  Never something to be passed off, mental illnesswhen properly diagnosed and treatedcan be effectively managed.  But when will we give mental illness the same kind of attention we give other illnesses in this society?  How many more acts of senseless, inconceivable of violence and rage must we endure before the change we need occurs?  How many more innocent people need to die before we decide to take the appropriate preventative measures?

In a society such as ours, it should never be easier to get our hands on ammo than it is to seek help for mental illness (or any other medical condition).  If the laws that govern us don’t change, our days will continue to be disturbed by events such as those in Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO. 

I will continue to pray for the victim’s families, the town of Newtown, CT, and our nation.  Hopefully we can all pull together, stop playing politics, drop the sensationalism and exploitative tactics, and take action.

One thing I know for sure is the human spirit is resilient.  No matter what the tragedy, we will heal.  Better days will come.  If we let love, peace, and harmony reign, we will prevail.

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 6

Let’s get right to it…the latest weekly musings!

  1. While there are times when we won’t always be up and happy, it’s during the times we’re down when we should empower ourselves with hope. If we can’t find it within ourselves, look to the inspirational and uplifting journeys of others who made it through. This may be just what we need to hold fast and securely to our hope.
  2. When our elected officials are unable to compromise on bills that impact the very people they represent and they let their personal interests impact their ability to fight for what’s right, you have to wonder who they’re really standing for? Do they forget why they’re in office? Do they forget they stand for all and not just the people and organizations they keep in their back pockets?
  3. I have to admit that I’ve often been caught off guard and amazed by the level of hatred, intolerance, and ignorance expressed in comments to political news articles in the weeks following the election. I probably shouldn’t be. But one thing’s for surethis nation is not as progressive as it’s oft proclaimed.  There’s still a long, LONG way to go.
  4. Loving someone is easy. Maintaining a relationship with themnot so much. What should keep the relationship strong are the very things which brought you together. This, along with the desire and willingness to see the relationship (and each other) prosper and grow.
  5. Sometimes we have to ask people what they want (outright). Forget the guessing games. If we were mind readers we’d be in a different realm. We’re able to proceed confidently when we all have an understanding of the purpose and mission of why we’re here. Otherwise it’s bullshit.  When time and money are at stake, bullshit deserves no seat at the table. Unless it’s a bullshit convention, bullshit should never be allowed a seat at any table.
  6. It’s a shame (for others) when you do your best to give people what they want (and then some) and it’s still not good enough.  No matter how good it is they’re never satisfied. What strength and fortitude it takes to deal with this on a regular basis (especially if it’s at work or at home). Realize it’s not always you, sometimes (or a lot of times) it’s them. Just don’t let it ruin your confidence or self-esteem. Don’t let it change you. Don’t let it stress you out. It’s all part of the process of learning how to work and deal with people.

The Power Of Your Words (from Prevail)

You’ve got the power to influence the masses;
You’ve got the power to make change.
You’ve got the power to make a difference in someone’s life,
So don’t underestimate the power of your words.

Someone is always listening;
You’ve got to be responsible for what you put out there.
People are looking up to you.
They admire you,
Respect you,
Want to be just like you.
So encourage them,
Inspire them,
Uplift them,
‘Cause if anyone’s gotta take it to the street,
It better be for a damn good reason.

Set an example,
And never underestimate the power of your words.       

© 2012 BuddahDesmond

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.    

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