For every dream unrealized

every goal unachieved,

all the legacies lost,

I  grieve.


For every celebration thwarted,

every promise broken & family torn,


body left strewn and rotting,

I mourn.


For every heartbroken mother,

father, sister, brother;

For every void that can’t be filled,

For every hope that,

along with you,

was killed,

I weep.


I keep

thoughts of you

stamped in my mind,




brown sketches

like henna,

fading over time,

rebranded with new outlines

of bodies.

Your smiles

framed with my daughter’s laughter.

Your faces

looming over the vision I have of my son.


If I can’t protect them,

how will I prepare them?

We do not raise our children

for execution,

but they are targeted like prey.


have become tombstones

as they

RIP your bodies apart

and leave your lifeless limbs to rot,

while we mirror the actions

or sleep, deeply sleep.

America’s history on repeat

in every way.

So, I stay woke….

“We know this place…”

-Talitha Anyabwelé

From My Lips…In the Midst of Ferguson

27-Talitha-48From My Lips….In the Midst of Ferguson

I still have greater prayers for you
than just to stay alive.
I pray you thrive;
that everything you desire
is guided by the Most High,
and is limited only by your efforts to obtain it.
I pray that fear never kisses your brow
and death never entertains the idea
of taking you prematurely.
I pray you fully grow
to understand your place
in this world
has been shared by kings and queens
just like you,
and that you are neither
beneath or above any man;
save those that bury themselves
in the hatred of humanity.
I pray you choose wisdom over folly
with the understanding that it comes with a price.
You may be lonely,
and tested,
and angered
by the lessons that precede it,
but I pray
that anger never consumes you;
only fuels you to be better than we
who came before you.
I pray you know love;
that you give and receive it,
because you were conceived in it.
From your conception until my transition,
these prayers and their subsequent actions,
(because prayer can move mountains,
but you must first move your feet),
are the greatest protection and gift,
other than life itself,
that I can offer you.

-T. Anyabwelé, Black Girl Speaks


Depression Confession

depressionMy Name is Talitha Anyabwelé and I have suffered from depression.

I have felt worthless and invisible. I have wallowed in barrels of self-pity and almost drowned in self-doubt and hatred. I have considered suicide because I couldn’t stand the sight of rainbows or anything vibrant. The colors were too bright. I feared they’d shine light on the mask I wore to hide my shame, guilt, anguish, and despair. I have lost battles and loved ones unjustly and too soon.  I have pretended, more than on stage, that all was well when it most certainly was not, and no one was the wiser. I could even convince myself at times.

Depression is more than feeling a little sad, and it is not always because of any one thing or any thing at all.  It is a seemingly unbearable, asphyxiating, crude weight that bears down on every muscle and tendon like boulders on feathers. The span of your mind and every ounce of your spirit is consumed and overcome by it.  It is ruthless and pitiless and harbors no remorse. You don’t just feel bad. You feel everything and the emotional confusion rattles you and sends you spiraling further into its clasp.  And, it is one of the very few things that does not discriminate. It cares not about your affluence or social status, influence or celebrity. You cannot barter with it. There is no route to “get over it.” There is no “Happy” song that chases the clouds away. You have to bear it and find some inhuman strength to lift it and destroy it without breaking yourself in the process.

But first, you have to get up in the morning and put on clothes and costumes and find the desire to do all of the undesirable things like bathe, and eat less or more; like respond to mundane inquisitions or strive to still meet expectations; like be there to care for your dependents, even though you already believe you’ve failed them all. You have to also find the desire to even want to lift the cloak of depression because in your deepest pits of destitution, it becomes a companion. Oh, the subterfuge of this monster will make you believe there is no other option in life, and therefore the thought of death becomes one.  It makes you feel heavy and lifeless as it is. Death almost appears to be a release, for too many, they seek it as a refuge.

IRobin Williams have found no cure for depression save honest introspection and intentional steps towards self-preservation. I personally have found journaling, walking, escaping for hours or days away from the routine of life, reading something captivating, and singing or crying really loudly for as long as it takes to break very helpful.  Depression won’t just go away if ignored. You have to personify it and address it boldly and directly, which is quite the feat in a state of cowardice and weakness.

There are also enough life partners, as I call anyone willing to invest time and love in you, along your course that can offer guidance, assistance, a listening ear, or just a healthy distraction until you muster up the will to fight. Some are professionally trained while others are just divinely gifted. Use these people because you truly are one of these people for many of them as well.

I can’t say that I don’t have moments of abjection. I do. We all do.  I’m just a little more equipped to spar than I used to be and a lot more honest about it. Still, when you see me smiling, question it and I promise to answer sincerely, and I’d be grateful if you did the same.


Up In Arms

Feeling Full of Life

I stay woke
Like for real
It’s 3am
And I can’t sleep
Because I feel my son
Kicking and swirling
Flipping and shifting
Readying himself for this world
And, fear has me wondering
If it’d be easier for him
If he was a girl.
If he wasn’t seen
As criminal before human
As violent,
As a threat,
As a suspect,
As a target
In Wal-mart,
As a nuisance
On the BART,
As a thug
In his ‘hood-ie,
As an animal
To choke,
As a disturbance
To silence,
As a reason
To provoke
His own murder,
As a weapon
To disarm
when his arms are up
In surrender.
I wonder,
While he’s cradled in my womb,
Unseen and unheard,
As it will be until he makes his presence known
By birth and simply living,
If it’s the safest place for him.

#blackgirlspeaks #JohnCrawford #TrayvonMartin #OscarGrant #EricGarner #JordanDavis #MikeBrown

Part I: The Holy Argument

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(In this article, I’m addressing  those who care about the plight of black people and humanity in general. I have no interest in entertaining or trying to enlighten the weight of bigotry and ignorance at perilous times such as this.)

“Where is the outcry when black people kill other blacks?”

It’s happened again. Another black male, Michael Brown of St. Louis, has been slaughtered with his blood running cold in the streets by a person who has taken the oath to “protect and serve.”  And, once again, the murder has been met equally with enraged outcries and dismissive arguments trying to absolve the action by shifting the focus to the violence by our own hands, without offering any solutions. The problem is that this argument has as many holes as the lifeless body of Michael Brown.Michael Brown

I hear this retort every time, and there are many, a black person unjustly loses their life to someone in “authority” over them. And by “authority,” I mean anyone who expresses or has been given the power to express superiority over the disenfranchised; which would includes the George Zimmermans and Michael Dunns of America.
The similarity in cases of violence where black people are the victims in America is that black life is not valued when it is deemed “free;” certainly, a relative term. It is only valuable to those in “authority” when it is incarcerated. The lesson of self-hatred and black criminality is on the curriculum of American citizenship from birth for African and European (or non-African) descendants respectively. We have lost the will, the desire, the value of living, especially in areas where poverty outweighs opportunity.  And, those of us who  have been granted such amazing opportunities,  point pious fingers at those of us who haven’t and bellow misnomers like “black on black crime,” which exists only if “white on white crime” does also.  (Every ethnic group kills within their own racial demographic more than not. However, white Americans have killed both within their own race and overwhelmingly more than any other groups outside of it historically in America.  Coin a phrase for that. )

I am certainly enraged when one broken black spirit takes the life of another. I weep for those who are dying in Chicago, NY, LA, Minneapolis, & all over the country by our own hands. I weep for those I’ve loved and lost to the hands of violence by their own reflections. I also weep for the black hands that pull the trigger who will inevitably meet the fate of death or incarceration.  The fate that many in “authority” will never meet when they have the same offense, which further embeds the message that our lives don’t matter. Is that not a reason for outcry? Is the state of our brokenness and impoverished spirit not a reason for outcry?  Is the justifiable murder of unarmed black lives by people in “authority” not reason to galvanize, organize,  and reestablish our communities and outcry?  Perhaps just making it “their”  problem and cloaking ourselves in righteous indignation and superiority, excusing one murder with another, will help.

Who should be leading by example on  how to value black (all) lives: those in “authority” or  who have been given lessons in value and self-love,  or the broken-spirited?  How dare we expect more from those with less than we’re willing to give. If you’re ready to stop sitting on the sidelines echoing baseless arguments, start by implementing the list below, as much as you can, in your community. It’s time for more action and less argument. #TheBackToBlackList

Stay tuned for “Part II: Armed With Blackness,” & “Part III:Black Criminality vs. White Mental Illness.”

(Please post all comments directly on the blog post by clicking on the “comment” button above the article.)