Amazing time with family during this weekend’s gala at the Harlem Hospital Center for The Bomb Shelter, an amazing non profit offering free arts programs for talented youth. I’m honored to have been chosen by their members to receive the very first Spirit Guide Award. :+)
Archive for Black Authors
Do I have your attention yet?
In her book The Man Curse New York 107.5 WBLS radio personality and author Raqiyah Mays explores the complicated legacies of love passed among generations of women. The book, which is described as “self-help fiction,” examines generational curses and love cycles through the story of Meena Butler, a successful woman who tries to break her family’s Man Curse. This “man curse” has prevented the women of her family from marrying. Raqiyah has written for diverse publications and was featured in VH1’s “Future Leaders of Black History” campaign. She was also saluted as a leader for her powerful work as a part of The Limited’s “New Look of Leadership” campaign. Women’s empowerment and leadership is an important part of Raqiyah’s platform, so of course, she was down to dig a little deeper. Let’s see what she has to say about love.
Raqiyah, we have all seen those statistics that admonish successful African American women as “doomed to be alone.” What do you feel is the legacy of love for black women?
The legacy of love for black women and for black people as a whole is complicated. It’s complicated because of slavery and post-traumatic stress from slavery. From systemic laws that were made to break up the black family. I attribute this to part of our legacy when it comes to different types of love.
There’s family love where black women have been the ones who received the love, showing the love and holding families together. For romantic love, our legacy has been difficult. I say it’s because of post-traumatic stress disorder, because of slavery, because of the things that we have to deal with emotionally from seeing our children pulled away from us and our men being taken away from us, killed and whipped, and being forced to raise children by ourselves. Forced to put on that smile and holding it all together.
I think continually seeing that throughout time, on the plantation and in the streets has subconsciously made some black women feel that men might not be there to help them. Some feel they may not find love. Do all black women feel like this? Absolutely not. But there are issues of love as a black community being connected to slavery and traumatic stress disorder.
So once and for all, what’s the Man Curse? Do you feel that there is a Man Curse?
My novel, “The Man Curse,” is a fictional account about a young woman who is working to break the man curse that the women in her family believe has prevented them from marrying. They believe that they are hexed.
I’ve had countless women come to me and tell me that they feel cursed. I’ve had women talk about coming from different families of women that aren’t married that don’t speak of this publically but privately say that they’re cursed. I heard this from gay men, white women, and I’ve absolutely have heard it from black women. Is there a curse? I believe in the power of the mind. I believe if you feel that you’re cursed, then you are. You manifest it, you believe. Do I believe that sometimes like my protagonists in my novel, that if you are taught to believe something about yourself, that you become what you’ve been taught? Absolutely. Generational cycles and ways of thinking about ourselves that I talk about in my novel, are definitely part of and one of the reasons some feel like they don’t deserve love.
The dating site OK Cupid tracked racial statistics and attraction via their platform. Their statistics revealed that African American women reach out the most on their platform and are responded to the least. How do you think this affects our relationships and how do black women deal with that level of rejection?
I think that every woman’s experience is different. Maybe it was just that dating website. I’ve used dating websites before. I have found that it was every other race that reached out to me, mostly white men. How do we deal with rejection? I think it’s about your outlook and your mindset. The right one for you will find their way to you; you will call them to you. When someone is not reaching out to you it’s not about you. It’s about them. They’re just not the right one. It’s about waiting for that right person and also making yourself right. You can look at rejection as a negative or as a positive thing. Say, ‘thank you Lord for not bringing me another deadbeat!’ You can say, ‘I know the right person will come to me when the time is right.’ You can open yourself up in other ways of meeting people. You might meet at a birthday party, at the bookstore, library, or at the museum or somewhere where you’re out not even thinking about meeting someone and just enjoying your life.
For Immediate Release
LINCOLN PARK COAST CULTURAL DISTRICT
OFFICIALLY RELAUNCHES MUSIC SPEAKS WITH AUTHOR RAQIYAH MAYS
DURING NEWARK’S 350TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
NEWARK, NJ (April 22, 2016) —Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) officially launched the first event in its free lecture, music and multimedia arts series – Music Speaks – on Saturday, April 16, with author, journalist, and WBLS 107.5 FM on-air personality Raqiyah Mays. Her debut novel, The Man Curse, is out now on Simon and Schuster digital. For Mays, this milestone held special meaning. “My immediate family is from Newark. I still have family living and working in Newark. It was fitting to share and celebrate the birth of my newest baby, The Man Curse, in the place where I was born that also happens to be celebrating 350 years of its own birth” says Mays.
Designed to increase Newark citizens’ appreciation for African American musical genres, Music Speaks is the official partnership program of the Newark 350th Celebration. This past weekend, Music Speaks: Rock Your Soul was highlighted with the retweeted hashtags #LPCCDMusicSpeaks and #RockYourSoul. But the day’s worth of activities were so much more. With a focus on literature, Music Speaks: Rock Your Soul began with an Afternoon of Empowerment hosted in the West ward’s Providence Missionary Baptist Church, and co-presented by our partners Babyland Family Services, Inc., Newark Circle of Sisters, The Brickerati, and Newark Arts Council. A group of women gathered together for an author reading and interactive talk back around issues presented in Mays’ The Man Curse, a self-fiction novel which touches on generational cycles like domestic violence. Leading the discussion, based on the book, was Stephanie Smith, M.S.W., President of Vesta Project.
As April is awareness month of prevention of violence and sexual assault against Women and Girls, The Man Curse was both timely and relevant. Praised as the one of the freshest voices since Terry McMillian by veteran publisher Karen Hunter, Mays chatted up attendees who shared their personal experiences with the issues facing The Man Curse protagonist Meena. With refreshments, opening and closing affirmations written by Shelly L. Bell of Babyland Family Services, poetry by Mia X, informational work packets that included FREE excerpts of The Man Curse, and an intergenerational room full of amazing women, the first-annual Music Speaks: Rock Your Soul Afternoon of Empowerment was an example of how arts & culture can be used to truly build and transform healthy communities.
That evening at Music Speaks: Rock Your Soul, the official book release for Raqiyah Mays The Man Curse, co-hosted by Newark Arts Council, In A Word Fab, The Brickerati, Newark Circle of Sisters and Tammi LaMorn of Taste Venue, Newarkers rocked out The Taste Venue with a live performance by JaE, a group best described as a cross between Lenny Kravitz and Lauryn Hill. This high-heeled guitar slayer, singer/songwriter and her all girl band definitely brought a funky, soul-fueled rock vibe to LPCCD’s Music Speaks. Attendees grooved to the tunes of DJ Just Love while sampling the “Rock Your Soul” and “Meena-tini” drink specials inspired by characters in The Man Curse. “It was a beautiful full-day of inspiration,” says Mays. “From the afternoon, being able to work with Lincoln Park Cultural Coast District to empower courageous women through my “Leading You to Love” workshop, to the evening’s book release party, where I felt so much love and support from those effectively working to rebuild Newark. Truly amazing.”
Throughout the day, attendees were treated to FREE digital download of The Man Curse book as Mays encouraged recipients to get on the literary digital highway. “When my agent told me that 60-70 % of Simon & Schuster’s book sales are digital, I was excited to sign on and take a ride to the next frontier. Especially when so many new initiatives for young people are rooted in encouraging reading on tablets, I am happy to be part of leading the way to a future that millions of adults already see the wisdom in embracing. It’s encouraging that organizations like Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District also understand the importance.”
LPCCD’s Music Speaks is a free lecture, music and multimedia arts series designed to increase Newark citizens’ appreciation for the African American musical genres which include R&B/soul, jazz, hip hop and house. In addition, programs include literature, visual, performance and mixed media arts as well as outdoor installations. LPCCD originally developed this traveling program in the early days of the Lincoln Park Music Festival, and relaunched it this year through partnerships and collaborations with neighborhood institutions such as Newark Arts Council, and partners such as Art Life Matters, Hycide, Newark Circle of Sisters, Newark Riverfront Revival, Yendor Productions and AllHipHop.com blending art and culture as the tapestry and back drop to various neighborhood destinations such as Grafton Recreation Center, St. Peter’s Recreation Center, Prudential Arena, Lincoln Park also known as “The Coast” and more.
LPCCD’s executive director Anthony Smith states “The role and contribution of sustainable and health & wellness is key in community building. This holistic approach includes not only physical wellness, but environmental, emotional and mental wellness also. Additionally, personal safety is an important issue to the organization, our residents and citizens of Greater Newark. Personal safety, both in public and in our own homes, is paramount to the development of fully healthy living, loving beings. It was an honor to work with such a powerful new voice in literature – Raqiyah Mays – whose debut novel The Man Curse speaks to these issues. We are excited at what is to come from Music Speaks this festival season.”
Remaining Music Speaks events include:
May 21, 2016 – “Music Speaks: Rock The Block” Public Art programming, featuring neighborhood transformation of abandoned outdoor spaces into visually appealing beautification projects with Yendor Productions, Lincoln Park Music Festival Sustainable Health and Wellness Village partners and others. A block party with purpose! (Central Ward). FREE.
July& October 2016 – “Music Speaks: Rock The Shot” Photography programming. Free photography lessons by renowned professional photographers (North and South Wards); shoot LPMF (Central Ward) and Photography Exhibition (Central Ward). Workshops: July 9, 16 & 23, 2016. Exhibit: October 2016. FREE. Workshops require sign up in advance.
July 27, 2016 – “Music Speaks: Hip Hop Rocks” Hip hop programming, featuring “A Conversation With” an icon or legend who has made an impact on the culture by AllHipHop.com preceded by screening “Can’t Forget New Jersey” film by 211 Media Group (Central Ward). FREE. RSVP required.
July 31, 2016 – “Music Speaks: Rock The Spirit” Gospel programming, featuring a rooftop Gospel Brunch celebrating Newark’s own The Drinkards in song with voices of LPMF’s Gospel Day and local church praise teams, produced by Susu Productions/YOPAT with Hotel Indigo Newark (Central Ward). Brunch reservation with venue required. Fundraiser for LPCCD.
August 19, 2016 – “Music Speaks: Rock The Riverfront” House music programming with house beats by a renown house music DJ followed by a screening of “Hands To The Sky” film by Domingo Canate, in partnership with Newark Riverfront (East Ward). FREE.
To purchase Raqiyah Mays’ The Man Curse, head over to Themancurse.com
STAY UP TO DATE with Music Speaks on our website: www.LincolnParkMusicSpeaks.com
FOLLOW Lincoln Park Cultural Coast District on Twitter and Instagram at @LPCCD
LIKE us on Facebook at Facebook.com/LincolnParkCoastCulturalDistrict
For media inquiries, please contact:
Lincoln Park Music Speaks Marketing & Publicity
Definitely looking forward to speaking at this Black Book Fair this Sunday, April 10, at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College with Author Kevin Powell. Shout to the Brooklyn Ladies of Delta Sigma Theta for inviting me. Hope everyone can make it. Sounds amazing! #TheManCurse
Our thoughts control our energy within and around us. #BeInspired #TheManCurse.com
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By Raqiyah Mays
Meditation is something many do to relax and calm the mind. Stressed by the frustrations of life, intensified by the struggles of today, many like myself use it to find necessary stillness needed to simmer down the rage, nerves, and drama. The effective power of this mindfulness technique is good for adults and children.
But it wasn’t always easy for me to use. Thoughts raced through the mind. The concerns of life, personally and professionally, meshed together into an unfocused blur. My early attempts at meditating were difficult. They manifested in long, aggravating, stretches of sitting still with an ill look on my face because I couldn’t clear my head. But I kept trying. Eventually buying an audio tape (Yup, a cassette. This was long ago). The soothing voice of the guide helped instruct me through clearing my mind. The harder I tried, the better I became. Sitting with legs crossed in Indian style. Back straight, hands rested comfortably on the knees, I began the motions of meditation. Breathing in and out, focusing on the loudest to faintest sounds, from the refrigerator motor in the kitchen, to the birds tweeting outside the window. I transitioned to visualizing a blue healing light engulfing the body. At first I breathed too fast, until eventually slowing to a controlled rhythm. Breathing in and out. Visualizing my day. Literally seeing myself achieve the goals imagined, in the end I opened my eyes to consider for a moment how I felt: Good. At ease. Relaxed. Optimistic. Years later, I no longer need a guided tape. Meditation is a self-love technique I live by.
Research has shown the positive effects of meditation’s mindfulness on adults and children. Findings by scientists from Johns Hopkins University published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that…
TO READ MORE GO TO WBLS.COM
WBLS’ very own Raqiyah Mays is an author, journalist, and empowerment activist. Her debut “Self-help” fiction novel “The Man Curse” (Simon & Schuster) is available for digital download at themancurse.com
By Raqiyah Mays
Trust. The issue so many of us have. If people are too generous? We question them. Too happy? We wonder why? If they ask for a handout? We side-eye. But why?
Typically it’s because we’ve been let down in the past. That friend we loaned money to never paid us back. That boy who said he loved us was cheating behind our backs. That promotion we were gunning for, went to the shady lady who used her body as ammunition.
Sometimes these trust issues run deeper taking us back to childhood. Dad didn’t stop by when he said he would. Mom was late picking us up from school, yet again. All of these instances help to subconsciously solidify feelings of abandonment and the ability to trust one’s word. If you can’t trust family, trusting anyone not blood becomes even more difficult.
But how do we trust? It’s difficult. Learning this isn’t achieved overnight. It’s a process that begins in the mirror. In the book, “Calling in the One,” author Katherine Woodward Thomas writes: “When we lie to ourselves, we sever ourselves from the source of our power – our own inner truth. We becomes fragmented and discordant within,” she writes. “When we say one thing and then do another, say things that we don’t really mean, or consistently break our word to both ourselves and others, we profoundly diminish our capacity to create the lives that we are hoping to create.”
Deep, right? We can’t change the past or what happened with our family. But we can change ourselves. We can show ourselves integrity and witness the empowering energy of honesty that follows from there. At the root, this begins with telling ourselves the truth. Even in the smallest things from promising to go to bed daily at 11pm. To even larger goals, like writing that book or looking for that new job. When we don’t follow through with what we tell ourselves we’re going to do, we end up unhappy, “fragmented,” and our energy is drained in the same way we feel when someone lies to us.
TO READ MORE GO TO WBLS.COM
WBLS’ very own Raqiyah Mays is an author, journalist, and empowerment activist. Her debut “Self-help” fiction novel “The Man Curse” (Simon & Schuster) is available for digital download at themancurse.com.