Friday, November 16, 2007

Cuz That's How I Roll!

My daughter, now 17 came up to me when she was about 8 yrs old and said..

"Mom, how come we don't have pictures with black people on the walls?The only pictures of black people are you and me"


So I looked around the walls of my apt and notice she was right. And it was a great question. We had pictures of a couple of temples, the first presidency of the church, a little girl sitting at the knee of Christ. A man returning with honor for his earthly journey and into the arms of God the Father, The Christus, A family in front of the temple... I guess what I'm trying to say is we had pictures in our home of all those nicey nice LDS eternal goals and things. It was LDS art. But we couldn't find any art at the time that had multi cultural families depicted. Usually it wouldn't matter, because up until this point, it didn't matter at least to me. As I listened to her ask some more questions and thing about things out loud, I heard what she WASN'T asking. And what she wasn't asking was this:

We have pictures of all these people receiving all these blessings and ordinances of our Church, but none of them really identify with me as a little black girl.

How do I know this was what she was asking? Cuz we discuss it through the years as she got older.

I started being intentional about finding art that depicts some of our culture as black women and as LDS women.

Here are some of my treasures. It's mostly photo's of the photo's in my home now so excuse the flash lighting on the pics.

This blanket means very much to me. I use it a lot of my youth firesides I do called "Tapestry"

Each individual color and strand of this tapestry plays and important roll in the final design of the blanket. Just as each of God's children and their individual beauty plans an important roll in the Lords Final design. Together in our different colors, shapes and sizes we are the Lords Masterpiece. Just as this Blanket is a masterpiece.

I went through a phase where I collected black angels. I don't know why but I wanted black angels. Some of my white friends asked me "why does it matter?" I said it doesn't matter Per Se, I just want what I want and I want black angels. When I asked them why they had white angels, white dolls, white greeting cards and such they shut up really quick. That's who they are and its' what their family identifies with. It's not some great issue, it's just what I wanted. They also thought a Black Santa clause was weird. Well the Santa that came to my house each year was black. No biggie, he just was. Why wouldn't he be? Anyway I found this tapestry blanket in a magazine a few years ago. It's called "FAITH" I purchased about 10 or 12 of these blankets. I gave one to my mom, step mom, sister in law, sister, daughter and various other friends.

I have a friend who lives a couple hours north of me. When I met him he was going through a very VERY Rough time. I think he appreciates this blanket more than anyone else I've given them to. When he found out I was LDS he basically went off on me saying

"I guess it was nice knowing you, I haven't been to church in years...."

I had to tell him... "I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I've enjoyed getting to know you. If you feel you need to move on, then I can accept and respect that. I don't care "

He was shocked. And we became pretty good friends

I remember one year he said Christmas hasn't come for me in years. So that year, for Christmas I gave him just a book filled with uplifting quotes about life and the difficult times we go through and the blessings we receive and sometimes forget. I fell in love with my Dakota Moon C.D so I have him that as well & with that I also gave him one of the blankets. I think he said he framed it and hung it on his wall. That was about 8 years ago. I recently was in touch with him. He had gotten married and was in the middle of a divorce. He said to me.

"I still have that blanket you gave me. You must be my black angel, because when times are hard without even knowing, you appear back into my life to help me along, just like an angel."

My response to him was... " I AM YOUR BLACK ANGEL!" Many people have called me their Angel. My Halo may be tarnished at times and some feathers may be missing from my wings but I AM an angel.

I love Jason. I love this blanket. And I love being a black angel :)

This is probably my favorite photo of all time.

It used to be part of a calendar I had. Some of my earliest memories are my mother reading to us from the bible. This was before we were baptized members of the church. This reminds me of my mom in her greatest moments of trials and strength. What's really amazing about this piece of artwork is, it also reminds me of my Grandma, my mother's mom. Because I see images of her as well sitting on her couch with her bible open watching the PTL club. So for me this is timeless of all the Mama's and Grandmama's in my family. It reminds me of them all because they were very into knowing and studying their scriptures. I want some day for this picture to remind those in my family of me.

This is probably my next favorite piece.

If I could find a wall size print of this I'd put it in my living room.
This is a greeting card I actually framed. It's of the Prophet Joseph Smith imprisoned. Feeling forgotten, burdened and alone
There's not a man, woman or child on earth who can't or wont identify with this picture sometimes if not many in their lives. If I look at it long enough it brings me to tears. I've had many dark days this year when I have literally broke down and looked towards heaven searching for comfort, hope, relief, protection and love. The beauty is I have received! This one is very dear to me.

This is a favorite with the Sisters in the ward when they come over and chill.

It's pretty self explanatory: My Black Moses!

SHOOT! Who wouldn't mind a black Moses to come along and rescue them from the things we're a slave to in this world. "LET MY PEOPLE GO!"
Dreads, staff, and alla that! What I like most about it, is the look in his eye. He knows, that he knows, that he knows there is a force behind him that Pharaoh will never be able to stand a chance against. He just knows it. His look is determined with faith unwavering. HE BELIEVES.
And best of all, he's right over my fire place mantle :)
It reminds me to try and have that look in my eyes. I want to look like I know, that I know, that I KNOW!

This one is called the the Baptism

It reminded me of a program I saw called "Pioneer Saints in Africa." Or something like that on BYU-TV.
Most people don't realize that back in the 1960's in Africa there were literally stakes waiting to be baptised. But the church didn't send missionaries to Africa at the time. For 18 years some people waiting to become members of my church. I recall the words of a man who went in for his baptismal interview and as he was asked each question he replied, "yes, I've been living that way for 18 years." ATE-TEEN-YEERZ!
WOW! All I can say is WOW. How many of us can't go one week w/o breaking a baptismal or temple covenant? (that's a whole other blog, yeah?)

The way has been paved and we are so blessed to be in a time when all the blessings and knowledge of the gospel are available to us at the touch of our fingertips and in our homes.
This picture reminds me of my daughter when she was about that age.
Right down to the hair.

My daughter was always pretty self content and self entertaining. She would lay on the couch, put a cover on her head and play peek-a-boo all by herself and just giggle away. Once when she was about 4 or 5 she saved some water melon seeds and planted them. She took a plastic spoon and dug a small hole with it, put in her handfuls of seeds and put a mound of dirt on top of it. She would even go out and water it a couple times a week. One day she was staring out the window.

"Boppy, what you lookin at?" I asked her.

"I waiting for my plant to grow mommy!"

"Really?!" I said, half enthused.
And that was that. I didn't pay any more attention to her and this plant. I figured it would die and she would forget about it. A couple months later I noticed this crazy vine in the bush area of our apt complex. didn't pay too much attention to it. By the end of summer this vine was out of control and even growing around the rails to the upstairs apartments. Turns out that my child grew water melon that summer. The whole apartment complex enjoyed several water melons that summer. During the fall the apartment owners ripped out their bushes and began to grew squash and watermelon from now on. Yeah, I have a pretty cool kid. This reminds me of her childhood. I think I learned more from her than she'll ever learn from me.

Another Favorite with the women who come over!

I liked this for a few reasons. It's called the FIRST SUPPER.

There's 13 really buff men in this photo depicting the LAST SUPPER. Their skin is all different shades of chocolate and Carmel. And EVERYONE loves chocolate and Carmel. Yes I know it's an Black vision of the first supper, you can tell by the watermelon and other fruits. And don't trip, I happen to love watermelon AND I'm addicted to fried chicken. Now what?

I figure the olive or darker skin and woolen hair is probably more accurate anyway.

I love this Statue!

It's not elegant or expensive or anything like that. But It's me and my girl. When I decided to keep my baby girl the song that played in the radio was Bobby Browns... "every little step I take, you will be there." And the other song that has been running through my mind the last 18 years is "just the 2 of us. We can make it if we try just the two of us." I was pleased when Will Smith did the remix of that song with his son.
This is the close up.
It speaks to my cultural side, my motherhood, my spiritual side, my whimsical and funny side, my sexy side. (Yeah, I do have sexy side somewhere in there). I reminds me that my I AM all those things, cultural, mom, spiritual, whimsical, funny and sexy. My daughter are is becoming these things as well.

They aren't much I know but they've helped keep a healthy cultural balance at least in my immediate home. My family is pretty well integrated and I'm proud of that. To take a disliking to any one culture because it would be me disliking a part of myself.

We also have the Typical LDS art in our home: temple, Christis, family pictures and such. This year i want to start a wall with friends and their families on my wall. What better way to have a feeling of joy and love in your home a wall dedicated to those friends and family members you love. Also if you feel you are struggling with finding art you can use anything. I have several greeting cards in 5x7 frames. Same with calendar photo's and just crazy picture's I've taken myself.
Anything that helps create a feeling of love and happiness and uplifting should be displayed in your home, because as you feel these things, so will those who enter.
........ If there is anything virtuous lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things!


stacer said...

That baptism one looks familiar for some reason. Is it by a famous artist? I might be thinking of another one. The first time I saw it, it was on the Cosby Show that was (in the world of the show) supposedly painted by the wife's grandmother or something like that. The one I'm thinking of, I believe there are women in big hats, etc. A very nice painting.

ShaBANG said...

Yes, you're thinking of the one with the Ladies in the big hats. That's the one from the Cosby Show. The baptism one is quite popular though, I'm not sure who the artist is, but it can be found at under african american art. And you probably recognize it from when you were at my house last year, remember? It was hanging. :)

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite pictures is called "Welcome Lord" (I think) and it is a black angel with arms up-lifted to heaven's sun rays. You can find it on


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