Toni Jones- "Who Am I Without Work" - Official Video: Reflections

 Full circle story:

In my time of reflection of the past 12 years as an educator, I’m having to tell myself some truths. One of these truths is that I have been unable to fully process my accomplishments because I’ve kept my eyes on my greater goal. I’ve been glad but not satisfied. I’ve sat in gratitude but just for a moment before I’m on to the next thing. I was abandoned in this work and my response was to carry it all by myself because I could only control me. How could I let the kids down? How could I let the vision fade away? I’ve been on the spin cycle for too long. And yes, I crashed. It's making challenge even more this grind culture, even when you are serving youth.

Today, I had breakfast with one of my Black Student Union (BSU) grads and her mother. They recounted opportunities, events, trips, connections that she participated in and she found a love for game design as a result. They appreciated me for doing so much for them. She is now a lead game designer at a game studio. But I’m just one part of the village that needed to cultivate the seed her mother planted in her.

Impact, to me, has levels. Her story should be the norm not the exception. I disagree with W.E.B. DuBois’ talented tenth theory but it takes a strong, supportive and highly intentional village to increase the percentage. I’m in this for the outcomes. For these post college meetups that credit BSU as having some part in putting them on a career path they love. Not only that, but they come back with the heart to serve the next gen.

She wants to encourage more Black girls to get into the field. She wants to be a mentor and help with resume writing. She wants to teach and help ME now develop a platform for 'gamified' education- I told her my interest and hesitation about going back to school.

Her mother said (speaking about the bigger picture), “No, you don’t have to do everything anymore. She went to school so she can come back and help you too!”

I accept.  🥰

...And because my mind is open to see confirmations everywhere... a song. If you are struggling with your feelings about work, working hard, the grind, etc. LISTEN TO THIS and let me know how you feel after in the comments.


Tyler the Creator- "Find You Wings" - Official Video: Reflections


The Afrofuturism Discovery Academy, founded by Sherinda Bryant, seeks to help Black youth discover who they truly are using correct history and positive affirmations so they can re-envision themselves and their purpose for the future. In the genre of Afrofuturism, the rules as we know them do not exist. We can use our beautiful imagination to time travel, explore other worlds and we can even fly. We have a new course that expands on this flying concept that is called "This is Why I'm Fly". In this class, students go back to the earliest historical accounts of people who could fly. Yes, there are stories that enslaved Africans took flight and returned to Africa. We go through some of those accounts and students come to their own conclusions about what happened with those Africans. Certainly, the concept of flying has been used in so many mediums since then. We take a look at some of those uses and discuss the metaphor and themes. What does it mean to you to fly? Why are we so fascinated with this concept of being like a bird, having wings, taking to the sky and escaping some reality? How can we re-envision our current reality so that it becomes a place/society we don't seek to leave?

We've heard it before, it starts with us. Tyler the creator challenged listeners to find their wings. To realize their true identity and not the one that we adapt because of our environment. These lyrics stuck out to me: "You can't swim, you're gonna drown, the sharks are comin'... The sky's your home, there's no limit...". This reminded me of a proverb about asking a fish to climb a tree. Why would you ask someone that is not accustomed to a certain environment to be able to live and thrive in it. It's a false expectation. This mentality implies that all humans have the same values and experiences. Not true. Some people get uncomfortable because they refuse to believe this. So in this song, Tyler tells us that we must find OUR (own) wings. Wings being a metaphor for motivation perhaps, for passion, for confidence. This, I believe, must begin with an analysis of what is important to us, our family and our culture. This helps us know ourselves so no one else can put into our minds the version of us that best fits their agenda. After that, finding our 'wings' becomes easier. So, do you really know who you are? Where you come from? What are your values and dreams? Let these answers prepare you for flight!