Greetings! If you’re in the neighborhood and enjoy being outdoors, please join us: Sunday, September 19 – 11:00am at Sankofa Farm in Bartram Gardens “Mother Tongue” is the final program in the series that celebrations the fortifying roots of Black Art. The cob oven, called “The Furrow” is both a work of art and a symbol of divine womanhood, was created by Philly Jawn and award-winning multidisciplinary artist, Misty Sol. Inspired by Toni Morrison’s book, Paradise, the oven will be lit, and fruits will be available in this gathering in remembrance of indigenous peoples and all our multicultural / multi-ethnic ancestors who made use of the land to feed loved ones. Bring your young people, too, to express their craft-making creativity, to dance, to sing, and to introduce themselves on the open mic. Also featuring Karen Smith and Ursula Rucker. All are welcome! Wednesday, September 22 – Autumn Equinox at The Woodlands Philly Jawns–Aziza Kebe, Lois Moses, Kia Knight, Sherry Wilson Butler–will be performing “That Blackness: In Tribute to Nina Simone” as part of the Weez The Peoples (Karen Smith & Donna Dorman) set of the Ars Nova Workshop’s Autumn Equinox Festival. The full schedule is below, with the Weez The People’s performance time scheduled from 6:15pm to 7:15pm. (Philly Jawns will close the Weez portion of show at 7:00pm). Please register in advance, don’t forget to bring a lawn chair, and don’t worry about dusk–the space will be lit and so will the stage. Also featuring Philly Jawn, Toni Love, one of Philly’s favorite jazz vocalists, V. Shayne Frederick, and a few other Philly superstars! https://www.arsnovaworkshop.org/programs/new-grass-odean-pope-immanuel-wilkins-chad-taylor-trio-autumn-equinox-celebration-2021/ Performance Times 5:00 – 6:00 PM Spirits Up 6:15 – 7:15 PM Weez The Peoples 7:30 – 8:45 PM Odean Pope/Immanuel Wilkins/Chad Taylor Hope to see you ! ____________________ Powell-Wright http://www.phillyjawns2020.com Editor/Curator, Philly Jawns: For Women Revisited Lead Strategist, SistahWrites! Founder/Performer, For Women Collective Recipient, Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant Recipient, Pollination Project Grant Recipient, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Art & Travel Grant Founding Member/Performer, In The Company of Poets Guest Performer: Sistahs Laying Down Hands
Not One (New original poetry by Toni Love)
Mothers of Black Sons and all who support in solidarity are welcome to join us as we stand together United against racial injustice, police brutality and inner city violence. We need your collective voice, wisdom and support to effect change. Please come out Sunday, October 16th at 12noon. We will march from Broad and Cecil B Moore Avenue to 1401 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia. In addition to being a poet, I am the mother of a young black male. I am honored to be on the program and will recite this piece as well as my poem “Born of Warriors” written after the #PhiladoCastille murder.
MOBS can be contacted via email at : email@example.com. Please also donate as little or as much as you can to MOBS Go Fund Me which will help cover the cost of permits and travel to our state and US capitols. Gathering as one unit is an essential part of the healing process. I hope you come.
Not mine, son
Not my son
Not my brother, nephew, uncle or current lover
Not my neighbor cousin or future husband
Not mine, not hers
I am not saying “no more”
I am saying “not one”
We with the millions of ancestors behind us
Forge a force you will feel into centuries
Your gated communities will not be safe
Your land will not be prosperous
Your wealth will not sustain you
Your privilege will not save you
We are millions today plus millions from centuries before us
We are far more than your eyes can see
We gather together
Seen and unseen
When mothers pray
The heavens come forth to listen
So rest assured and be forewarned
There will be a price for your descendants to pay
If you ever look at our sons in a disrespectful way
We, collectively are not playing with you today
(c) Toni Love Publishing
Encouraging Young Writers in Philadelphia Today
My father loved to read and wrote a multitude of songs and essays yet published only one song in his lifetime. Today in his memory I am excited to be hosting a fundraiser for Philly Youth March and Voice4Justice. The event featuring Grammy Nominee Ursula Rucker and the extraordinarily musical Monica McIntyre begins today at 3pm at Alma Mater, 7165 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. The suggested donation is $10 and children are free! Please come and encourage our young writers. And prepare to be blown away by the collaborations and energy in the room.
Check out the Facebook event pageVoices for Justice Event for more details and I hope to see you there!
Peace and blessings and Happy Father’s day!
Toni Love #loveistheanswer
Arts and Artists Extravaganza Today! Voorhees NJ
Good Morning! Toni Love will be appearing at the 2015 Arts and Artist Extravaganza at The Mansion in Voorhees, NJ today! The event will take place from 4PM-8PM and there will be a showcase of the area’s finest artists and published authors. I am honored to be invited to share some of my poetry with the attendees. I will also have copies of my new CD “The Restoration” available before it is officially released to the public at my CD Release party on August 22nd. In addition, you can get Toni Love t-shirts and purchase tickets to the show! It’s a family friendly event and FREE for children under 10. Check out the link below for more information. I hope to see you out on this beautiful Sunday!
Click here for more information —-> 2015 Arts and Artists Extravaganza
New Shoes: My Mother’s Day Gift from Above
My Mother transitioned a little less than fourteen years ago, and last year was the first year I awakened on Mother’s Day without heaviness in my heart and tears in my eyes. Our relationship expanded beyond mother and daughter, we were best friends, so it was a deeper loss for me. The first few years were the most difficult. Even though I was a mother myself, all of the Mother’s Day commercials with scenes of children hugging and delivering gifts and flowers to their mothers trickled into my joy like Chinese water torture. The constant barrage of reminders and emails about the day made me want to crawl under a rock until it was over. One day about ten years ago, my Godmother called me to wish me a happy day and I burst into tears. She spoke to me about the pride she felt when she watched me with my children, and that she knew my mother was watching with even more pride and how I should pass the joy of motherhood on to my offspring, not just the sadness of the loss. She told me that it was normal and acceptable to have a moment of sadness and recognition of the loss, but not to sit in it and watch the day pass without honoring myself and all of the other mothers and mother figures in my life. That same year my daughter’s Godmother talked to me about the love of a Mother and how her presence is strong and with us but we have to push aside the cloud of grief to see their light. She suggested that I ask her to manifest herself in some small way during the day and so I challenged her belief and I did. Later that afternoon my best friend’s mother showed up on my back porch (mom’s favorite spot ) with a beautiful bouquet of plants and flowers and also reminded me that this is a day not only of remembrance of my mom, but more importantly to celebrate and applaud myself. Mom had sent her most faithful messengers to me and I finally had no choice but to hear them loud and clear and drink in the love that she was offering through them.
I can’t say that the weeks leading up to the holiday aren’t still sometimes melancholy and that I don’t think of her more because of all of the commercialized sentiments, but I do three things leading up to mother’s day that keep me from being overwhelmed by the sadness that can envelop the holiday:
- I pamper myself : Last week, I put appointments in my calendar for a massage, manicure and pedicure. I also made arrangements to take a mini-retreat; a 24 hour stay-cation at a nearby hotel complete with wine, bubble bath, and as much sleep and relaxation I want without anyone yelling “mom” or bursting in my room, even if it is for a morning hug. As caretakers, our first priority should always be to check in with ourselves and make sure we take the time out to refuel every once in a while. I save $50 a month and put it into my Serenity Fund so that I can take a stay-cation at least four times a year. If you patronize a particular hotel each time you can end up with points and some of your retreats will cost you nothing.
- I purchase myself a gift that will arrive on or before Mother’s Day: In the last few years of my marriage, my ex would not even buy me a Mother’s Day gift. My children were babies so I would be disappointed to say the least. I realized then that I didn’t have to wait for another person to validate me as a mother and that I could do it for myself, so each year I purchase one gift that I wanted but had refrained from buying for myself, and I purchased one gift that I would probably have given to my Mother (almost always ends up being a pair of shoes!). This year, I replaced my worn out couch with a slightly used couch with two recliners. And I ordered three pairs of shoes. I honor myself and honor my Mother at the same time and receive twice the love. Win-win!
- I ask for Mom to “show up” and always expect a gift from her in the form of a mini-miracle: I never really felt my mom’s presence until months of grief therapy helped me get past the mild depression that set in after her loss. She was around but I wasn’t present. Now, I ask her to show up for me and she always does. And I always experience a random act of kindness from one of her angels here on earth. This year, the day before Mother’s day my shoes arrived and I got the sudden urge to rid my closet of old shoes I can’t or won’t wear any longer and to organize my closet to fit in all of the shoes that I can wear since my ankle fracture. It truly felt as if mom had taken over my body because I haven’t cleared out my bedroom closet in about ten years. Mom had so many shoes that she had each shoe box cataloged by number on her computer. Halfway through the project I smiled because I couldn’t deny that she was making her spirit known to me, and I thanked her for the beautiful gift of her presence! Most years I get several mini God-incidences (much more than a coincidence) or miracles, so far for this Mother’s Day I’ve received two. I have been wanting to replace my couch. I originally purchased it from a Thrift Store just to have something to sit on when my ex moved out and took the furniture with him. The couch was nothing fancy but it was cheap and comfortable and would suffice. A few weeks ago on a Yard Sale site I saw a double reclining sofa listed for several hundred dollars. I mentioned that I was interested but knew it was still not in my budget. A few days ago the woman contacted me saying the other buyer had backed out and she was dropping the price of this gently used couch (it retails new for over $700) down to $100. When I mentioned that I needed to find someone with a truck, she said she had a friend who could move it for me, no extra cost; mini miracle #1. Friday I went to the local Whole Foods to get fruit and thought about what I could get that was appetizing and also easy enough for the kids to cook me for Mother’s day. While browsing, a gentleman working at the fresh pasta counter invited me to consider some of their options. I started thinking that pasta would be easy enough for the kids to prepare especially since fresh pasta cooks so quickly. Before I could decide, the young man said that he would give me a sample of Ricotta Gnocchi to try at home and proceeded to fill up a small box of fresh pasta that I could take home at no cost to me! I picked up a small container of marinated and grilled chicken breast and just that quickly my Mother’s Day dinner dilemma had been resolved. I smiled again and said “thanks Mom”; mini miracle #2.
Some don’t believe in spirits or the after life or even that people transition and remain with us as energy, but I do. And even if you don’t, and you have or have had the experience of a Mother’s unconditional love, you should at least believe that she would not stop loving you or showing her love for you just because she is no longer physically able to do so. Mothers are God’s miracle workers and I don’t believe the miracles stop just because their earthly heart stops beating.
Wishing all of the caregivers of beautiful children, a beautiful day of love, gifts and miracles! And oh yes, shoes!!
Yes Black Girl, You Can Get Head Lice! The Finale
Here we are a month later and still no return of the yucky head lice or nits (eggs) so I thought it would be helpful to parents like me, who are virgins to this experience, to follow-up my first blog post on March 2nd https://tonitalove.com/2014/03/02/yes-black-girl-you-can-get-head-lice/ about how to eradicate head lice from African-American hair using natural products.
You definitely need to refer to my original blog post where I found out that one of the best ways to kill head lice is heat. After the Rid shampoo that they sell in the drugstores started to take my daughter’s natural hair out on the spot, I searched for an organic remedy. In a few words, the natural remedy is heat to kill them and heavy oil to help loosen the eggs that they leave behind. Both my daughter and I wear our African-American hair in its natural state, but I did invest in a flat-iron for the special occasions when she wants to wear her hair straight or in spiral curls. I never expected to use it for any other reason, but I’m even more thankful now that I have it.
Well, after the first wash and flat-iron, and the use of the Robi Comb that I mentioned in my earlier post, I had killed all of the lice (and yes I did see live lice….ewww!) I could see in her hair. The process was tedious because she has long, thick, wavy hair and you have to comb through it in sections about 1/4th of an inch thick in order to see and remove the lice. They love to hide in the crown of the head as well as the edges (near the ears, forehead and nape of the neck) and will move from one area to the other as you are working through the head. Contrary to popular belief lice are not white; the live adult lice are brown and the eggs (nits) are white. The adult lice are pretty easy to dislodge. It’s the eggs that glue themselves to the hair shaft, that are difficult to remove. I proceeded to get all visible lice and nits eliminated from her hair, then washed and flat ironed it again and sent her to school. It had been a two-day process and I was so proud of myself that I had zapped all of those scalp vultures and that I didn’t see one white speck of anything in her hair. Twenty minutes later I get a call from the nurse that she could not return to her classroom. The reason I didn’t see any white eggs was that the remaining eggs had started to hatch and had turned brown, making it almost impossible to see in a head of sandy brown hair! I was devastated and she was so disappointed that she would miss yet another day of school. The nurse asked if she could snip a strand or her hair with the brown nit on it so that I knew what I was looking for, and I realized this wouldn’t be an easy resolution.
Feeling defeated, I picked up the phone and called my local health food store, Martindale’s Natual Market http://www.martindalesnutrition.com/ to see if they carried a natural head lice removal kit. Hallelujah, they did, and it was surprisingly inexpensive at about $25 for the shampoo, lice oil and nit removal comb kit. It’s a lot less than taking your child to a lice removal salon and paying $100 or more for their services! I was so happy and so relieved, but here I was with a broken ankle, on crutches and didn’t know who I could get to pick it up for me. The staff at Martindale’s is extremely well-informed about holistic and organic foods, nutrition and care and are always so compassionate but it floored me when the woman on the phone said that she would bring it to me when she finished her shift. I almost cried and thanked her a million times when she showed up at my door less than two hours later. Since I had removed the lice I proceeded to use the Safe 4 People “De Bug Lice Oil” http://www.safe4people.com/html/ptotoday.htm which after treatment, makes the hair shaft so oily that the nits are much easier to remove and sometimes slide off by themselves. I’ve heard from other parents that mayonnaise or petroleum jelly work in the same fashion, but none were African-American and I didn’t want to risk taking the chance of it not working in my daughter’s hair. I followed the directions on the oil, once again sectioning the hair and applying this extremely thick castor oil-based solution to her dry hair. It took about an hour to apply, and two more hours of her sitting with a shower cap on her head. Two hours later (less time if you use their shampoo first; I chose not too since the shampoo is for removing that lice and I had done that already), I rinsed her hair in warm water once again went through the tedious process of removing the nits from her hair. Since her hair is so thick and curly, and it’s much easier to use the tiny nit comb on straight hair I had to blow dry and flat-iron her hair once again. I could see that a lot of the nits had washed off with the warm water, but I still needed to section her hair and comb through each section with the nit comb, this time using a flashlight to ensure I could see every little brown nit possible! Two more hours later ( suggest you start this early and not wait until after dinner like I did!) I put a little Jojoba oil in her hair, lightly touched her edges with a bottle of tea tree oil I also purchased from Martindales (I read that lice do not like tea tree oil), and sent her to bed on fresh linens and a brand new pillow. I was taking no chances!
The next morning I checked her hair and scalp again, feeling paranoid with each piece of white lint or dandruff flake I found, and sent her to school. We both prayed that it would be a successful day. About half an hour later it dawned on me that the phone hadn’t rung and it was well past the time that she should be in her classroom. I didn’t want to assume, so I called the school nurse myself. She said “well done, her hair and scalp look great”; I exhaled. “How did you do it without using the drugstore solution?” she asked. I proceeded to give her the short version. She said that she shared my experience with the nurse from the other elementary school because she who was unaware that children of color could even get head lice. She also said she would share it with other parents and I let her know that I’m happy to share my story with any other African-American parents at the school who need this information.
So, yes I am now the head lice removal expert (hahaha) and I am happy to pass on my knowledge to other parents. She will be wearing her hair up and braided if necessary at least during school hours and will not be sharing dress-up wigs or hats with her friends for quite some time. I truly hope I will never have to rely on this information myself ever again, but at least if I have to go through this again, I will grab the Safe4people kit, my Robi Comb and my flat-iron and get to work!
Oh, the joys of Parenting!