I believe that for every action, there is not only a reaction, but an indelible receipt marked on our lives - creating our spiritual ledger. I think of what I want my ledger to look like, what motivates me, and how those motivations will encourage or hinder my contributions to the world. -Mekaelia

Today’s One Love guest curator, Mekaelia Davis
talks about recent motivations, actions and inactions. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator, Mekaelia Davis

talks about recent motivations, actions and inactions. #OneLoveT


Motivation, Action, & Inaction by Mekaelia

Humans are incredibly complex creatures - at least that is what I’m led to believe by history, science, and observing family, friends, and the general public. But nothing makes this point more clear than when we (humans) are faced with events that motivate us to action.

For the last two weeks, I’ve watched dozens and dozens of people (mostly human - jk) demonstrate their inner motivations in public dialogue and street protests, on social media, and in backyards and garages. Some have been motivated by the anger, fear, and confusion triggered by the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; while others have been motivated to join in “support” of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by dumping buckets of clean ice water on their heads.

Now, I do not intend to posit one action against the other. Participating in peaceful street protest vs. videotaping yourself getting drenched with water in support of a horrible disease is not the point here. I am most curious about our motivations. I think I’ve personally witnessed about three dozen friends and family members participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge. So I took the opportunity to ask 10 of them, what they knew about ALS. What is the disease? Who does it affect? Did they actually donate money? Why had they decided to participate in the ice bucket challenge? Only 2 of them actually knew what ALS was. No one knew that most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 75, with the majority after age 60, (ALS Center). I took the opportunity to ask about police brutality and violence. Who gets killed by police? Consensus was much stronger there. People had a sense that young men of color are targets for police violence, but didn’t know to what extent. Vox recently acquired FBI data shows that while Black American’s only make up 13% of the US population, they make up 32% of police homicides.

However, when I asked why they hadn’t acted given this knowledge - apathy began to rear its head. Somehow, the motivation disappears. Whereas, participating in a challenge about a disease they knew very little about brought about notions of pride and unity; the idea of acting in support of something that affected their own family members brought about helplessness and inaction. Would they participate in a protest? Did they consider joining one of the peaceful rallies held around the country, around New York City?

I believe that for every action, there is not only a reaction, but an indelible receipt marked on our lives - creating our spiritual ledger. I think of what I want my ledger to look like, what motivates me, and how those motivations will encourage or hinder my contributions to the world. My conversations with friends and family reinforced my understanding that we do not all share the same motivations. There are many whose actions are motivated only by anger, and in turn, their anger motivates me to action.

So I’ve encouraged many of my friends to join me in an ice-less challenge. To help fight bigotry, hate, and racism. A challenge that will help address the racism that affects young men of color around the country everyday. I’ve invited them to sign the Color of Change petition: that makes a very clear case to the online platform GoFundMe, to take down their pages in support of police officer Darren Wilson and return profits made from his personal fundraising campaign.

Some actions are not made visible by stunts, but the alternative, inaction, is made visible in the lives of people every day. I try my best, to choose wisely.

Bio:

Mekaelia Davis is a change agent, a daughter, and a Program Manager at the Aspen Institute. In her role at the Aspen Institute, Mekaelia helps manage the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund and Network – a $1.5M grant making effort across 24 states and the District of Columbia, that invests in cross-sector, collaborative approaches to creating economic opportunity for low-income children and their parents. Prior to joining Ascend, Mekaelia completed a National Urban Fellowship at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, managing investments across five Maryland community colleges and CBOs in the Maryland/DC region. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree at Baruch College, City University of New York. Mekaelia was recently a Fellow with the Center for American Progress Leadership Institute, loves to laugh, and resides in New York City.


Alcohol is Novocain in disguise. Your parents actually didn’t know how to raise you. The 20’s are a complete wash. People are imperfect, love them anyway. -Rodney

Today’s One Love guest curator, Rodney Wilkins sips tea, and gives us a few life lessons. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator, Rodney Wilkins sips tea, and gives us a few life lessons. #OneLoveT


Sips Tea by Rodney Wilkins

In lieu of a recent meme featuring one of my favorite childhood icons Kermit the Frog. He’s simply sipping Lipton Tea whilst keeping his thoughts to himself. I decided to follow suit with an exchange addressing a few things in life that I feel as though I must “sip tea” to.

Now that I’m 30, a few things have dawned on me. The future that I imagined as a child has been wildly exaggerated. Reality is a biach, that will give you her number but rarely will respond to your text. Movies are movies not to be confused with real life. Alcohol is Novocain in disguise. Your parents actually didn’t know how to raise you. The 20’s are a complete wash.  People are imperfect, love them anyway. Don’t watch reality TV, just don’t do it. The blind truly do lead the blind. Read the bible often, extract what you can and feel guilty about the rest. Kids are great as long as they aren’t yours. Follow your dreams or nah? Your dreams are like thots, they’ll let you hit and everyone else who’s really checking for them. Call your mom even though all she does is criticize. Don’t spend too much money on clothes, when you die they just get distributed amongst family and friends. Money is the root of all evil, but it’s a necessary evil. Don’t get married too young, you don’t know— you like that, so how could they? No bill collector formed against you shall prosper. Curse as often as you can, studies say that you are being honest. Laugh out this bish, everything is funny. By the way I spiked my tea with whiskey ;) Sip tea after every meal, it’s good for the digestive system. Good food is just that, so eat drink and be merry!


Feel free to create your own Kermit the Frog drinking tea meme,
but of course that’s none of our business. #OneLoveT

Feel free to create your own Kermit the Frog drinking tea meme,

but of course that’s none of our business. #OneLoveT


There we were years later standing before each other beneath the barren mango tree. Branches awaiting the moment its flowers would once again bare the fruit in which the possibility of love seemed only spare, but whose sweetness would stain our memories and whose pulp would bring forth juice as the testament to our daily survival. -Akeema

Today’s One Love guest curator, Akeema-Zane tells us a story, as we hide in the barren trees. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator, Akeema-Zane tells us a story, as we hide in the barren trees. #OneLoveT


Barren Trees by Akeema-Zane

"Where are we?" I asked, though the words hadn’t traveled to the other end of the room. He stared at the ground as my eyeballs paced for the moment he’d look me in the eyes. It must have sounded like a rhetorical question. "How did we get here?" I yelled. His face finally lifting itself from the reflection of the bare concrete. He mumbled. I did not hear a word but couldn’t bother asking him to repeat himself. Surely we were in the zone that twilights inhabit, both alone though bearing the scent of each other’s stench after long days of work. We buried our despair in each other’s shoulders. Every once in a while we dared to massage them away in the silence of the night when we heard only the movement of the sheets as our feet wiggled around the trail of mosquitoes. Just two weeks ago we were there-tiptoeing around the hypnosis of our smartphones, our ears mirroring each other’s while we sat, side by side, on the living room sofa. We had broken the promises of our keeping.

Our final argument led us here. Into the pale of a battle which challenged the might of our complacency. Neither of us were willing to fight and neither knew where the fight would eventually carry us. The future seemed dim, and we were both disillusioned about our places in it. The wool that endured winter’s chill awaited me somewhere in the pastures of my wildest illusory romance of Europe, and collecting shade under the baobab tree in Madagascar. He planned only for those tomorrows where his ironed work clothing hanged to greet him each time he entered his room.

Here! I felt I had spoken his language for once. Buried futures of lightyears into the slows of my new stride. But the question I posed still reeked of the past. Reeked of recalling those memories that led us to this present of hopelessness. “Look, we had our moments and good times, but this is not making sense. We are not compatible.” I knew he spoke of a truth I bellowed just yesterday, and the day before, but this moment soaked these knowings into the red of my ego. What did he know really? “You are trapped in those moments behind you, you can’t let go. You are ruining your future.”  I stared at the barren mango tree and wondered when the flowers would begin to bear its fruit again. His phone’s ring led him to exit before the coming of the rain. He promised a phone call later that evening, but I knew better.

I emptied him in the salts of the water which seemed to cure sore eyes. The comfort in nothingness no longer wished to sip the tea of unfeeling by my side. This future seemed nonsensical in the face of pastlessness. All arrows were pointing forward but at what cost and from whence? Our pulses were almost completely buried in debt, and it was almost too hot to breathe as the smoke of plastic burning hovered the atmosphere each day. Concrete threatened the presence of grass,  and trees were a nuisance to brick follies attempting to mimic the spirits of homes. Heads laid on the corners of streets detached from the bodies whose hearts grasped for the longing of fathers. Politicians tucked away money in their socks, under the beds of their daughters, and in the swiss accounts which secured their hidden agendas. Cancers larked in the bellies of the corn stalks, rice grains, wheat and chicken. And then there was love, perhaps promised in the discovery of life on the mars, but for the earth had reached its decline.                                                                            ___

The moon shone brightly that night as it did the night he laid tucked away in the warmth of her return and I in the unknowing of which my solitary slumber permitted. I awakened the next morning anxious to greet him with the yellow which donned my chest as I walked the streets to his home, bright eyed and filled with the hope of new beginnings. As I walked to his bedroom window waiting for him to greet me I was instead met with the tarnish of her footprints. She had traveled from foreign to recreate their victorian romance under the looming of palm trees. She had been gone too long, and he, I soon learned, awaited her shadow in the darkness of my skin.

I grabbed the items within reach of my hands which were barred entry amongst the louvres and the door he refused to open. A bible and his photo album! I frantically ripped out the pages of Genesis and tore the pictures of the two of them. I sprinkled them across his lawn. It was my attempt to recreate the trappings of those moments behind him.

There we were years later standing before each other beneath the barren mango tree. Branches awaiting the moment its flowers would once again bare the fruit in which the possibility of love seemed only spare, but whose sweetness would stain our memories and whose pulp would bring forth juice as the testament to our daily survival.

 


Akeema-Zane

Akeema-Zane is a multidisciplinary and aspiring multimedia artist born and raised in Harlem, NY with significant childhood memories in Trinidad W.I of which she is a descendant. She received a self-designed interdisciplinary BA from Eugene Lang College with an emphasis in Anglophone Caribbean studies. While attending a predominantly white, all girls boarding school in Connecticut, art became a primary avenue to express her intellectual development- one that differed tremendously from her peers. Akeema-Zane has displayed visual works in various exhibitions, performed in short films/music videos and plays, and read her written works in various galleries. Most recently, she was an artist-in-residence at Groundation Grenada where she led a writing workshop in Grenada, W.I., and published a short piece about her expatriation to the Eastern Caribbean on the organization’s blog. She considers writing her primary mode of expression and spent the bulk 2013 based in Trinidad doing personal research and writing on her family and the cultural capital of Trinidad and other Eastern Caribbean countries. She is currently inspired by and interrogative of the legacy of Jeanette MacDonald (Mother Earth), and works by Erich Fromm, Earl Lovelace, Peter Minshall, Audre Lorde and Zora Neale Hurston as well as many of her awe-inspiring friends. Akeema-Zane currently works at the Schomburg Center as a Curriculum. 

Other posts: http://groundationgrenada.com/2014/01/10/on-being-the-daughter-discovering-the-home-of-her-descendants/


But hey I was agreeable, right? Well liked because I didn’t hold feet to the fire. I brushed my shoulder off and gave out free passes to treat me as you will. [Except on my birthday, you forget my birthday and call yourself a friend and I’ll keep you on a mental shit list.] It was this year, in my fortieth year that an expectation was placed on me. Expect more from people. -Andre Cole

Today’s One Love guest curator Andre Cole,
speaks to that disappointment feeling
that we all have experienced when we are confronted
with the expected or lack there of. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator Andre Cole,

speaks to that disappointment feeling

that we all have experienced when we are confronted

with the expected or lack there of. #OneLoveT


The Expected by Andre Cole

I remember it vividly. After yet another disappointment, I grabbed my phone and feverishly typed a tweet that read “I’ve learned that placing even the bare minimum expectation in humans will lead to disappointment.” I sat my phone down. There. Got it out of my system. Not really, but it was fun to think I did.

Although it wasn’t out of my system, the sentiments were true. My personal mantra had become “don’t expect anything.” Nothing. Not a damn thing. Not expecting shielded me from disappointment. I’m not a fan of disappointment because disappointment and I have danced one too many dances. I had my fill many years ago, from the life changing disappointments to the minor and just annoying ones. Thus, my expectations had been guarded and nearly immeasurable. I decided to never let others take my joy by expecting something from them just so they could fall short and leave me disappointed, hurt or waiting outside in the cold for an hour for a meeting.

It wasn’t until just recently as I celebrated my fortieth birthday that I was hipped to a different translation of my philosophy. Two good friends sat me down and told me that by not expecting anything, I let people off the hook. Because of a lack of expectation, I allowed the allowable, the bare minimum. This made me docile, overworked and exhausted. But hey I was agreeable, right? Well liked because I didn’t hold feet to the fire. I brushed my shoulder off and gave out free passes to treat me as you will. [Except on my birthday, you forget my birthday and call yourself a friend and I’ll keep you on a mental shit list.] It was this year, in my fortieth year that an expectation was placed on me.

Expect more from people.

If they fall short, don’t be disappointed. Don’t hide into your feelings and do it yourself. Be angry. Be vocal. Be on the phone in your best Bill Duke in Menace II Society voice saying, “You know you done fucked up right?” An expectation is a guideline. As disappointed as we are that our expectations aren’t met, remember never let that feeling go. I’m not telling you to harp. I hate harping. Hell I literally hate harps. You know, the musical instrument.

But I digress.

Hold your standard, whatever it may be. Our expectations as a society have dipped so low that it’s become commonplace to move on. Whether it’s listening to horrible music and letting it go because that’s the style or tolerating injustices in our court system or of the nothing accomplished American Congress. Low expectations equal low results.

So yeah, we’re going to be disappointed in people who won’t step up to the minimum expectations. But we don’t have to accept it either. Your expectation is your standard. Set them higher and make them real. You’ll never disappoint yourself if you do.


I was into rock and punk (punk rockers out there will probably say punk light of some of my leanings) and I was (still am) a black girl. This combination confused and irked people, almost as if I was not allowed to own this genre ‘cos it did not come from a place I knew of or had been too. As a rebellion against this I would often be found saying things like “I hate RnB” which was the music I was supposed to have liked. -Ellesbells