I had the opportunity recently to interview author, activist, Mother and thought-leader, SISTER SOULJAH recently. In this interview she shared her personal thoughts about relationships, the state of our world today and about love .
I asked Souljah, “What would you say your definition of love is and how do you write about that concept (of love) through your work?”
Souljah: “Well I believe that love is a topic that is probably as vast as the ocean so I think it’s something that you could put in a neat, one or two sentences. I believe that love is a feeling, an action, an attitude, a foundation. I think that without love everything else is in chaos. I think without love you never have peace, and I think the reason why we have so much chaos in our families is because we have crisis in love. I also think the reason why we have so much chaos in our male-female relationships is because we have fallen out of love with one another.
I think that even in our friendships we have forgotten how to love and therefore our friendships are competitive and spiteful. There’s a lot of betrayal and there’s a lot of distance and these are things that should not be a component of friendship.”
JK: I recognize that we are all looking for something Souljah, what do you think we are looking for?
Souljah: “Ultimately, I think all of us are looking for love and acceptance, but that can be dangerous without guidance and clear examples of the thing we are looking for.”
I was reading a blog this week in which the author told of his recent visit to a 5th grade class to talk with the kids about money. And as kids do, one little girl asked “How much money do you have?” And the author said, “I’m not going to answer that.” And then another kid chimed in, “Nobody answers that! How come?” The kid’s questions left the author and me wondering well why not? Why don’t we talk about money like that, you know the real deal, how much we make? How much we have? How much we’re worth?
Is it just that we’re uncomfortable talking about money, well, our money in particular? Or is it because we don’t want to be judged or ridiculed? Why is money the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM that nobody talks about?
When my husband and I had kids, we decided that we wanted them to know everything possible about money and to this day, our kids know our salaries, what our home costs, how much we have in savings and investments. But honestly, I can remember when my kids were young, I would hush them when they commented on someone else’s financial status. It always came up when they would visit friends who had nice things, or large houses, or what appeared to be lots of money. You know how we do, we whisper about people behind their backs, “I wonder how she affords those shoes or that car?” Or “How much do you think their house costs?” We talk about how much we think they have or think they make or how much we think they don’t have or make, and be honest, we’ll attempt to keep up with our peers regardless of whether we really know their real money deal!
So what’s our real discomfort about talking about money? I’m asking because every survey that I’ve looked at says that Americans think and worry a lot about money! AARP did a study of young adults ages 18 – 34. It said that 57% of young Americans consider their financial situation to be the biggest concern in their lives. Take 100 young adults and 57 of them consider their finances to be the BIGGEST concern of their lives. And we don’t talk about it? Why?
But here’s here how money shows up in our daily lives, listen to the comments some people posted on a website I was browsing, regarding money issues:
And we won’t and don’t talk about money? What in the world?!
I’ve been doing my own survey this week and here’s some of the top concerns of my listeners:
People have told me about some of their worst financial experiences…being laid off for 10 months and having NO income…or going through a divorce, and losing one income. And yet, WE DON’T TALK ABOUT MONEY? C’mon now! Today, can we begin to change this? Why? Because you and I are worried about not having enough for retirement, young adults have debt up to their eyeballs and we shouldn’t continue to ignore the ELEPHANT in the room.
So, tell me, what do you think? Why don’t people talk about money? Is it just to avoid discomfort? Or are there more practical reasons to avoid money discussions? More to the point, in your own life, with whom do you have money discussions? What sorts of things do you talk about regarding money? Listen to what my listeners said on the air! CLICK HERE to hear The Jennifer Keitt Show Podcast.
Personally I think we’re scared to tell the real deal because we’re afraid of being judged or looked down on or even looked up to as the source for others, but what do you think? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW and be sure to visit my website at www.jenniferkeitt.com. I am your chief empowerment officer, Jennifer Keitt and you can listen to The Jennifer Keitt Show every Sunday on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B!
Today I’m talking about a topic that, as women, we think about or talk about EVERY SINGLE DAY. The subject: HOW WE LOOK! And here’s where it starts, from the moment we’re born people comment on our ‘beauty:’
“Oh…she’s so cute. Look at those “chubby cheeks and hair!”
She’s a little chunky, she didn’t lose that “baby fat” yet?
Her hair is so nappy, whatcha gonna do with that?
And then we go through the awkward puberty stage and it’s full-blown war!
You ain’t gonna never get a man looking like that!
Put a bra on!
Wear a dress so you can look like a lady!
Don’t wear that dress you look like you know what!
We are told over and over and over again HOW WE LOOK and it’s based on everyone else’s opinion. It is no wonder women today are TIRED, CONFUSED, FRUSTRATED and SICK of folk telling us WHAT BEAUTY IS!!
A recent PEOPLE Magazine named BEYONCE the MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD! My goodness, how do you get to be labeled the MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN WORLD?? What pressure! Is it her eyes, her lips, her curves, her singing ability—what makes BEYONCE the most beautiful woman in the world? Here’s what she said in the article when asked HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING NAMED WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN?
She answered, “It’s overwhelming! But it is such an honor. I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt, because I’ve given birth. I have never felt so connected and never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth.” She feels beautiful because of giving birth and having purpose (not because of her hair length, eye color or body shape)
So what makes you feel beautiful? Are you comfortable in your own skin? For me, IT TOOK A LONG, LONG time to deal with this beauty issue. So many women—grapple and wrestle with this thing called beauty every, single day. And for many of us, if we’re honest, we’re losing the battle. Many women don’t like what they see in the mirror. Many women don’t like the texture of their hair, or the size of their butts, or their skin color.
You know, one of the biggest influences on beauty images comes from the toy and movie industries. I can remember one Christmas, I wanted a Black baby doll that I saw in a store. My Mother had to search high and low to find that ONE Black baby doll for me. When I opened her that Christmas morning, I was in heaven! Seeing my color on a baby dolls’ skin was HUGE…and she took center stage for a long time in my doll collection laying on top of all the other dolls. When Mattel finally got it and started making BLACK Barbie Dolls that weren’t just white dolls spray painted Black but Disney did take their sweet time before FINALLY giving us a BLACK PRINCESS!
Anika Noni Rose is the wonderful actress who played Tiana, Disney’s first Black Princess, and she told me that she’s thrilled that she got the chance to help shape young girl’s beauty and esteem!
Mirror, Mirror on the wall are we really the most beautiful of them all? Tell me what you think! I’ve been questioning and polling on FACEBOOK and I want to hear from you. How do you define beauty?
What truly makes a woman beautiful? Long hair, short hair, skin color and GENTLEMAN I especially want to hear your take on this! Tell me about the first time you came face-to-face with your looks when did beauty become real for you? My show HOTLINE number is always open, 404-906-7720. I am your CHIEF EMPOWERMENT OFFICER, Jennifer Keitt and you can listen to THE JENNIFER KEITT SHOW on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B every Sunday, 7 -8 pm ET or you can hear my Today’s Black Woman Radio Show Vignettes daily nationwide.
Just think about it, EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET has a Mother! Over 7 billion humans—that a whole lot of MOMMIES in the world! Well here in the US here are the stats: 85 million Mothers; 5 million are stay-at-home Moms, while 55% work outside the home. And there are 10 million single Moms.
There was a recent USDA report that said the cost of raising a baby for the first year, for the average middle-income family, is roughly 12, 000 dollars. Now I’m sure it’s debatable as to whether or not that number increases as they get older (I for one KNOW that it does), so conclusion: KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE! Not to mention the emotional and mental cost Moms pay every day. Here’s a recent post that I read:
“Rough start this morning. Tried to do the mommy thing and actually take my kids to school. The plan was to drop kids off and then write all morning. Well, (my son) wanted me to walk him in and refused to get out the car. I finally got him out but then he didn’t want to grab his book bag. So here I am yelling and screaming for him to hurry up because of all the cars behind us. I ended up throwing the book bag out of the car and then he wouldn’t close the door. To top it off my husband was on hold and when I got back on the phone, he was like, “honey, don’t yell …. be patient…. when he does that, I get out and help him out of the car…he’ll be okay…the other parents can wait….” Of course, this doesn’t help. It took me 30 mins and a chickfil A burrito to calm me down. And I was going to have lunch with them?!?! Whew…. Being a mommy is not easy.
If I could have a DOLLAR for every time I felt like she did, I’d be RICH right about now! Motherhood is the most FABULOUS gift we have as women, and yet sometimes it can feel so scary.
Jill Smokler writes the popular SCARY MOMMY BLOG. Listen to some of these Mom confessions:
There is NOTHING else like being a Mom! That’s why this special show is just for you—today’s Mom. I KNOW how important it is TO NOT FEEL YOU’RE ALL ALONE with the thoughts and emotions running around inside your head. As we take the time to celebrate our Moms today, let’s also take the time to find out—for real—what’s going on inside her heart.
PlumDistrict.com polled over 19,000 women and eight out of ten said they would prefer to sleep in on Mother’s Day instead of watching the sunrise with their kids. One out of three admitted that they secretly want to be alone on the holiday. When CafeMom readers were asked to contribute to a Mother’s Day wish list, the theme was overwhelmingly the same. “A day off from EVERYTHING.”
It’s time and it’s so important to LISTEN to our Moms. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do on today’s show. Step Moms, Single Moms, Mother’s who stay-at-home, Moms who are entrepreneurs—even MICHAEL JORDAN’S Mom are on the show today—all here to discuss what’s REALLY on Mom’s heart—Mom Confessions…a special Mother’s Day Show, just for you.
CLICK HERE to listen to this very powerful show and breathe…YOU’RE NOT ALONE! Visit my website at www.jenniferkeitt.com for more information. Be sure to listen to The Jennifer Keitt Show every Sunday, 7 -8 pm ET on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B!
The topic today: CRAZY FUNERALS! Yeah, you heard me, CRAZY FUNERALS!
Now what is a crazy funeral, you might ask? Well it’s like one that I attended. A close family member died and I was one of the speakers in the funeral.
Ask me why I had to ask one of my other relatives WHO the person was that was listed on the program—because the name that I knew this family member as—WAS NOT the name on the program. Now mind you I GREW UP WITH THIS MAN!! And then, ask me why in one of the front row sections did a young man sit down in the midst of my family—who NO ONE had ever seen? I noticed that all of my relatives started whispering, pointing and looking dumfounded about who this young man was! And then I found myself moments later having to introduce another SON that we nothing about!
What in the world!
So at the get together after the funeral, we spent HOURS trying to figure out who the man was that we just buried!! It was CRAZY! And mind you, crazy funerals happen ALL the time. The family drama, the money fights, the folks who show up at funerals that had secrets lives with the decedent.
Well o.k. here’s some more crazy. At my Father’s funeral, my Uncle sat in the front row, LITERALLY killing me with his eyes because he was FURIOUS with me for what he thought I should have done for my Dad. I remember getting through my remarks with daggers coming at me a mile a minute…from many in the audience, because my Father’s side of the family was and still is a difficult part of my life. For example, as my Father was literally on his death-bed in the hospital I had to attend the “brothers and sister” conversation that we had in the middle of a mall with my father’s other son and my brothers and me, awkward to say the least! We don’t speak to each other! Then there was my father’s youngest daughter who was at the funeral trying to find her place in this mess…and of course there was the tension between me and my father’s other wife and his family members.
It was CRAZY!
Ladies, and Gentlemen CRAZY FUNERALS happen all the time and they happen because we fail to have the important conversations with ourselves and our loved ones. So, you know me, I’ve decided it’s time to start today—with this post! In my 26 years in radio broadcasting I have NEVER discussed funerals. I want families to be whole, to be well—to share their stories and to NOT be drama-ridden OR HAVE CRAZY FUNERALS! That’s why I am talking about it with you.
My phone lines are open—I want to hear your CRAZY FUNERAL stories! You’ve got ‘em, you’ve either been to one, know of one, OR are anticipating one with maybe one of your loved ones! Call me now, 404-906-7720 to tell me your story. I bet you have NEVER been asked by a talk show host to share your CRAZY FUNERAL STORIES!!! First time for everything! Call me 404-906-7720.
The first step that we can take in eliminating CRAZY FUNERALS is to have important conversation with ourselves. As morbid as this may sound, I’ve talked to me about how I envision my death. And my family already knows. You stop any of my children or my husband and ask them what does your mother and wife want when she’s buried and they can tell you—NO open casket, NO long funeral, NO long speeches and NO sobbing or tears. I want my picture looking FABULOUS and I want for those attending to CELEBRATE my life with a party. Plus, I’ve taken all the steps to have my affairs in order—they know about the life insurance policies, where the important documents are, they know about the checking, savings, retirement accounts—I keep my life in order. And I want you to too.
I wish I could say the same about my close family members—I am unfortunately, anticipating some CRAZY FUNERALS so that’s why this show is just as important for me as it is for you. We can learn together how to begin to get our lives in order and have the IMPORTANT conversations with our loved ones. I am your CHIEF EMPOWERMENT OFFICER, Jennifer Keitt and I encourage you to listen to this INCREDIBLE SHOW. (CLICK HERE) The stories we heard…unbelievable! And the advice given…invaluable!! The Jennifer Keitt Show is on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B, every Sunday 7 – 8 pm ET. Be sure to visit my website at www.jenniferkeitt.com to stay connected.
This week I am focusing exclusively on helping YOU, in your life success! I want to start our conversation today with a question: WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO YOU IN YOUR LIFE? What does HAVING IT ALL really mean?
I was thinking about a good way to launch into this topic and ran across this story…
A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American casually asked.
“Oh, a few hours,” the Mexican fisherman replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American businessman then asked.
The Mexican warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”
The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”
The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”
Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery.
Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”
Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”
After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”
“And then what, señor?” asked the fisherman.
“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”
“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young fisherman in disbelief.
The businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”
The moral of the story is: Know what really matters in life, and you may find that it is already much closer than you think.
In that story I have to be honest, I’d be cast as the HARVARD MBA. I think like that naturally—bigger, better, more efficient, more success!! But honestly, I’ve learned in my own life that the things that are the MOST important to me ARE closer than I think. While I am striving and achieving to reach my personal goals and destiny I’m also engaged in a dance with myself remembering to SAVOR every ounce of my life—especially with my husband and children—as I am achieving the next level of success.
If you’re sitting next to someone right now that you love, is that what really matters? If you’re in a home that’s clean and safe, is that enough? If you’re fortunate enough to have a job or a business that you love, is that what matters most to you?
HAVING IT ALL in life is what so many of us are grinding to get and accomplish every day. But for many of us, our everyday grind isn’t getting us closer to what really matters in our lives…for far too many of us, the daily grind is pulling us further away from what matters. For many of us, we’ve committed to a 20, 30, 40 year plan to ultimately get back to a simple, happy life. Yikes!
So why talk about what matters? Because YOU matter. Every one of our lives matter. And what we do with what we’ve been given is what LIVING is all about. I wish I had had a way to think or express OUT LOUD the crazy that was going on inside my head on my journey along the way. I wish I could have had a place, a vehicle to use to bounce ideas off of, to hear what others think is important to them to help me figure WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME! Well, you have that, it’s my show and blog and today we’re going to delve deep into YOU and YOUR LIFE and what matters most.
I have assembled THE CRÈME-DE-LA-CRÈME of Women’s Empowerment Experts—a literal WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT DREAM TEAM: SUSAN TAYLOR, MONIQUE GREENWOOD, and MIKKI TAYLOR, powerhouses of wisdom, thought and ideas about having it all and WHAT MATTERS MOST IN LIFE! From all these women, I’m sitting at their feet, taking notes and I hope you do the same. But wait, there’s one more guest—YOU! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a few moments and CLICK HERE to listen to the PODCAST of this show!
WHAT MATTERS MOST IN YOUR LIFE and WHY? We want to know, call our HOTLINE, 404-906-7720, anonymously and let us know your thoughts. I’m your chief empowerment officer JENNIFER KEITT and my show THE JENNIFER KEITT SHOW airs live every Sunday, 7 – 8 pm on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B!
Be sure to visit my website for more life empowerment tools: http:www.jenniferkeitt.com