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The Black Lives that Changed Lives

I remember as a child, I’d always look forward to the afternoon Oprah Winfrey Show. I think I was only 10-11yrs old. I was amazed at the work that she did for the World. Helping families, empowering women, making headlines on the most important values that mankind should focus on. She to me, was a reflection of my generation’s own new age Mother Mary.

Her show was such an eye opener, it made me admire her so much that I wished I could be like her some day. I aspired to be the Oprah Winfrey of my people.

Like so many african americans that made me feel honored to be a human being, I’m just going to share some of my personal favorites.

1. Oprah

image: OWN network

Let’s not even get started on why we love her . Duh. I think I can’t be friends with someone who hates her. AHha.. ok I’m bias like that but come on, she’s done so much humanitarian work that it’s just not funny. Serious World leader stuff. And she’s a workaholic only because of her passion in defending what’s right, in sheltering those who need protection, aiding World hunger and poverty and so much more. That’s a 24/7 job right there. I’ve always wanted to be on her show but yeah, I’m just a small bean with big dreams. Oh well, I can dream can’t I?

A television producer, media executive and well known philanthropist, Oprah reinvented 90’s daytime show. Growing up in rural poverty, Oprah is a rags to riches story that not only highlights how it’s possible to change our life path but also how we can teach it to the masses. Paying it forward for all the blessings in her struggle, her charitable nature resonated in the hearts of millions that watch her. The first of many Great Influencers of the World, Oprah was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994 and was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


2. Barack and Michelle Obama

image: @barackobama Instagram

The Obamas. The role model family of America. They’ve come a long way through those years of honest hard work. It finally pays off in 2009. That was the happiest most celebrated moment in the history of my existence. Being a part of a great wave of change. The first African American President in all of American History . Michelle and Barack really stood hand in hand. A great partnership to rebuild America. Both unique to their own individual special human powers, this husband and wife team works exceptionally well together. Michelle did her great part in every area of humanity, planting seeds of love and justice by empowering women whilst Barack ploughed the land with his “We not I” can-do attitude. He had perseverance, conviction and the capability to make real change in American lives. He was every children’s hero, a saint to those who were chronically ill and so much more. This was my generation’s first class seat to witness a great shift in the paradigm. Though at that time, I was going through really personal turmoil, that win changed my perception of what else could be possible. It motivated me to get out of my rut. Truly, dreams do come true. It manifests into reality with persistence and hard work. Be honest, be forthcoming, be practical but do it with a lot of heart and you can attract the right things in your life. Here was what some of us thought would be impossible back in the 50’s and then BAM! There on the podium stood the Man of the Year alongside one of the strongest Most Accomplished Women in our time . We got to bring them back folks. The most charismatic, relevant, pragmatic and hard working couple in American politics. Barack and Michelle need to reorganize the mess that America is in right now.

3. Maya Angelou

image: mayanangelou.com

With a myriad of accolades around her belt, one of which is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Maya Angelou healed the World with prose and poems. Using poetry as a tool to get through her trauma of an unforgettable past, she gave birth to poetry gold with her undisputed piece, Still I Rise . Maya Angelou is the Mother of all Triumphs. Having struggled through pain and turmoil throughout her younger years of being sexually abused and used. She embraced her pain, lived with forgiveness and shared the love she had with the World. Guiding us on how to navigate life’s adversities and taught us the value of love and kindness, Dr Maya Angelou is one of the most well respected african american artists and spiritual teachers of our time. Opening up her soul to us so that we can learn the skills on how to better heal ourselves, is a gift that the World will forever miss. 1928-2014 , your 86 years on this earth was like having an angel breathe air into the souls of the pained and suffering. You taught us strength, resilience, love and peace. A poet, author and activist that can never be forgotten.

Still I Rise

BY MAYA ANGELOU

source: poetryfoundation.org

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

4. Malcolm X

image: history.com


Born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X grew up in the midst of white supremacy violence in his home town of Omaha, Nebraska. Who would’ve known that the trauma of the death of his father and after the admission of his mother to the Kalamazoo State Hospital, Malcolm would become the man we know today. Of course we can’t compare him to Mandela or Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Because that is not a justified comparison. Malcolm was the total opposite of Dr Martin’s peaceful methods of protest. He was one of the fiercest and most passionate civil rights activist . A force to be reckoned with. Black Nationalism in your face. His leadership brewed a lot of jealousy and vengeance in the opposition, after he publicly renounced the N.O.I and started anew as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Malcolm X was a public speaker who had a great following. He was a very influential and prominent African Muslim figure. His powerful words of freedom from discrimination drew thousands closer to the cause . He was also credited for coining the term “Black is Beautiful”. On February 21st 1965, the World was struck with horror by his assassination. We are reminded of his pursuits of racial justice with Malcolm X Day and the changing of names for many schools and streets in the U.S.

5. Madame C J Walker

image: Micheal Ochs archives/getty images

I have to be honest, I only knew about her like this year. Yes, this year. Had I not scrolled down Netflix and its many wonderful selection of great limited series, I would not have known about this icon in human history. The first female african-american self made millionaire on record. Now how does anyone top that?

Born Sarah Breedlove, she was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and a political and social activist. Married at 14 just to escape abuse, the orphaned Sarah worked as a domestic servant and later on a laundress, raising her daughter A’lelia mostly on her own. Long story short, she was determined to build an empire after successfully launching hair care products for the african american hair. She introduced the “Walker System” to the black community. It was her method of grooming that promised to promote hair growth and scalp care to the masses. I’m going to save you the long read on Wikipedia but I do recommend that you catch that Netflix series cos it’s worth watching. Her attitude and persistence kept driving through all her adversities. She smashed the naysayers to the independence of black women and she kept on building and developing , educating anyone who was willing to improve and make something of themselves.


These are not even 1/100th of the many leaders and most influentially prominent figures in black history. We’ve got Muhammad Ali, Rosa Parks, Mandela, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Will Smith, Booker T Washington, Michael Jackson, Serena Williams and the list just goes on. There are too many for us to go through in one read. So if you want to find out more, head down to The Undefeated44 and park yourself there for the day.

If there is anything that is not updated, slightly off course, unclear or has offended anyone in the way that it’s written, I ask for your pardon. Please do forgive me in my shortcomings. This post comes with the intention of love and peace. To highlight the many beautiful leaders that has truly changed our lives had it not been for them. Thank you.

Stay safe, stay sane.

Much Love Peace Always,

LM

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