Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Nakia Laushaul is grateful during Black History Month:
Like most of the US writers who are guesting here on my blog during Black History Month (BHM), I met Texan-based Nakia Laushaul at the Black Writers Reunion and Conference. This time it was in Altanta, Georgia in June 2010. I was instantly attracted to the spoken word performer because of her infectious energy and enthusiasm, especially when she won First Place in the “Give Me Five” Writing Competition as part of the event.
Nakia has released one book of poetry, The Truth as I See It, and her debut novel Running from Solace will be out soon.
Below are some things that Nakia is grateful for during the BHM, and I hope they will all speak to you as they did to me.
I am grateful for proof that the strong black man is not extinct. My beautiful, strong, loving, kind, intelligent son, J is the most amazing gift God could have ever placed in my arms. His desires push me to reach higher. Work harder. He is the future of Black History.
I am grateful for my Grandmother Ethel. She can turn a room out with her jokes. I am grateful that I have the luck of knowing and loving my grandmother up close. That she is still here casting out clichés that sometimes take me a few years to fully grow into and understand. Even I can see my grandmother’s thumbprint covering the woman I am.
I am grateful for Maya Angelou, because she wrote a book that changed my life, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
I am grateful for Langston Hughes, because of I, Too, Sing America. I am grateful for Eugene Useni Perkins, who wrote the poem Hey Black Child, “Do you know you are strong? I mean really strong?”
Okay, I am grateful for Nikki Giovanni’s poem Ego Tripping, “I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal I cannot be comprehended except by my permission.”
I am grateful for my BWRC peeps (all of them) for believing in me, cheering me on, wiping my tears, and for being my literary family. I am grateful for so many other amazing black writers that have courageously written their truth in print and without knowing it, carved out the road to make room for me.
I am grateful for the woman I met at a women’s conference that humbly whispered in my ear, “I can’t afford your book right now because I don’t have a job, but as soon as I can, I will buy it because I think I need to read it.” I gave her the book and she cried and she held me so tight. “I’ll pay you back,” she said. She still didn’t get it (smile). Her tears were payment enough. I am grateful to her because she, like many others, inspire me to continue writing and ranting my truth. Someone needs to read it.
I am grateful for the ability to laugh at my mistakes. Like Sophia says in The Color Purple (a novel by Alice Walker), “I done had enough bad luck to keep me laughin’ for the rest of my life.”
You know, laughing at it beats crying over it any day.
Above is the gorgeous Nakia and I at the BWRC in Atlanta, Georgia, 2010.