Role Models

Dear Viola…THANK YOU!

Am I the only one who woke up this morning with a little extra pep in my step? I couldn’t stop thinking about last night’s Emmy awards! I’m not even going to lie, I watch award shows primarily for the fashion. Last night was different. When Regina King, Uzo Aduba and Viola Davis received their statues I was cheering from my little makeshift bed in my empty apartment! History was made! My theme music just got a little louder.

I could go on and on about why this was all things amazing, wonderful, gratifying, etc. But Viola Davis said it best in her succinct yet powerful speech.

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Hey Mama…

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“I want to tell the world about a friend of mine. This little light of mine, I’m finna let it shine. I’m finna take ya’ll back to them better times. I’m finna talk about my momma if ya’ll don’t mind.” ~ Kanye West, “Hey Mama”




I’m not sure if you’ll ever get this much Kanye in any of my posts, but it’s so fitting for today. I love going through social media only to see picture after picture of moms, step mothers, surrogate mothers, all around bad ass women who birthed and nurtured life in this world.

Of course I wanted to add to the love fest by talking about my favorite person on this earth! My mom, Annisa Cline-Thomas, is in my book is really one of a kind. Not only does she mother my sister, brother and I, she mothers my friends, her co-workers, basically anyone in her path. She teaches us through her actions, generosity and amazing stories. Here are some of the best lessons she’s taught me.

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365 Days Later

I debated whether or not I would even write this blog. Since the first one received such a kind response and I decided to share. I never want this blog to be a diary. But it is somewhat of an extension of my stream of consciousness and this has definitely been on my mind.

April 24th marks one year since my dear cousin Joya passed away.

In a previous blog I wrote about our relationship and how she ultimately became the catalyst to this website and blog.

Joya and I On Her Wedding Day - 2000

Joya and I On Her Wedding Day – 2000


I’m back in Leeds, England as I write this to spend time with her husband, children, friends and other family. The anticipation leading up to the day is full of thoughts about the last times. The last time we saw each other. Our last conversation. The last time she sent me a text. The “I love you’s” that we didn’t know were goodbyes. I remember getting the news of her passing and being propelled into a daze. I remember the day of the funeral and a few things about that trip. That’s it. I really don’t remember the month of May 2014 at all. Daily activities, like going to work, were so arduous. I was just going through the motions, hoping exercise would keep me from plummeting into deep sadness.

My Brother's College Graduation- 2000

My Brother’s College Graduation- 2000


365 days later and not one has passed by without thinking about my cousin; her laugh, her jokes, her style, her being. Most memories evoke laughter while others intensify the void. I don’t know where the phrase, “time heals all wounds,” came from. I do know it’s a big lie.

I think time can help you get more comfortable with a new normal.

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When I Meet Oprah

I will scream, cry, forget my name, thank Jesus, ask her to be my Godmother, then ask her if we could sit down one-on-one for some tea – in that EXACT order! I, like everyone and their mother, watched the Oprah Winfrey Show and now subsequent programming on OWN. I wanted Iyanla to make me put my hand on my head and breathe while she called me beloved. I ask people, “Well how’s that working for you,” just like Dr. Phil. I wanted Andre to do my hair. You get the point. Oprah is my Mary Tyler Moore (ugly cry and all!) True Oprah fans will know what I’m talking about!

Yes, it was important for me as a child to have a woman of my hue, with hair that was my texture commanding the world’s attention.

But it’s not her money and certainly not her fame that captivates me, it’s her footsteps. The way in which she confidently bucks the trends, steps into taking risks, her confident stride as she seemingly dominates with her every move while balancing such enormous responsibility; all while creating deep groves that those walking behind her can settle into. It’s the way in which she owns her story, admits to her mistakes and corrects her course while everyone is watching. Our tea would be about Oprah’s lessons, Oprah the businesswoman, Oprah the brand and how she turned her calling into a career.

One of the highlights of 2014 was getting the distinct honor of moderating a conversation with Soledad O’Brien. I’m similarly in awe of how she set herself apart in a sea of on air personalities, solidified her real estate in making documentaries and turned her employer into a client. As Beyoncé would say…Bow Down.


Soledad O’Brien and I

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