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Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's more than just keeping your hands to yourself

I recall attending a wedding many years ago and the mother of the bride told the groom: "If you ever feel like you have to hit her, send her home. She's been raised and she doesn't need you to hit her."
At a wedding, why would a mother feel the need to say this to a groom? And let's be clear, that couple didn't have an abusive relationship.

But that mother laid a foundation that day. Years later, that couple raised a son. He's a really good man and has a bright future. He fell in love with a girl and they moved in together. The young couple got into an argument one day in May. She hit him.
He called the police.
She went to jail.

So, I'm always puzzled when people say a man can't walk away or do something other than hit a woman back when she hits him.
And I'm perturbed by the fact that people say women "provoke" domestic violence. And by people I mean ESPN's Steven A. Smith and all the Steven A. apologists running around social media.

I once dated a guy with huge hands. I ended up in the hospital, not because he hit me or did anything of the sort. As a matter of fact, he drove me to the hospital and I believe I told him not to call my family. But he did. When my mama came to check on "her baby," the first thing she asked me was did he ever put his hands on me. It's also one of the first questions the nurse asked me when I was admitted into the hospital two days earlier.
My answer was no. I've never been in an abusive relationship, but when I was a full time journalist, I covered several deaths of women who were killed at the hands of batters. Did they provoke them? Did they have a family asking questions or were they victims of the domestic violence cycle.

See, what the SAS choir is missing is the fact that we need to talk about domestic violence without victim blaming. We need to acknowledge that men are victims. Because the next line that the SAS choir sings on Facebook and Twitter is that a man who reports DV is called a punk. (Insert eye-roll)
Yes, mothers need to teach their daughters not to hit ANYONE —man or woman. And mothers also need to teach their sons not to hit as well.
This men will be men BS is old. It's past time to let that go. Being a man does not equal being violent. Being a man means you can call the police when she hits you.

SAS was suspended and then his choir pulled out the race card because it's assumed that he was suspended because a white woman co-worker took him to task on Twitter.
But as The Washington Post reports, this isn't the first time Smith has blamed women for domestic violence.

Smith, who created a media storm when he questioned the role of women in domestic violence in the aftermath of the NFL’s two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, will attempt to speak more clearly on his views Monday. While he’s at it, he might revisit a 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. interview unearthed by The Big Lead or his 2012 comments about provocation after Chad Johnson was arrested in a domestic incident with his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada. Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery, and Deadspin dug up video (see it here) of Smith’s commentary then.

So, yes, I've called BS on his apology. The third time is not the charm. This shows a pattern, a pattern of victim blaming and shaming.
If this nation is going to have a discussion about domestic violence, then let's stop with the kindergarten mind set of keep you hands to yourself. Some PEOPLE (not just men) are evil. SOME PEOPLE will abuse someone who they feel is weaker. And the response of the SAS choir proves that there will be more Bianca Tanners before we find a real solution to the serious issues of domestic

The case has received national attention since Tanner, 31, a second-grade teacher from Greensboro, was reported missing by Smith on June 8 in Charlotte. The report came just 10 days after she moved to Charlotte with her 3-year-old son, Jarrod.
The child told investigators Smith had struck Tanner with a belt and “hurt Mommy in the face,” according to a search warrant. —Source: The Charlotte Observer

Read more here:

Things you should know:
  • One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
  • Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
  • Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner. — Source:

#1 FACT:
Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is it OK for me to be black, female and mad?

I used to walk around with a smile on my face all the time. I didn't want to be labeled as an angry black woman. I did that for a year.

That shit was painful. My day job has me working in a male dominated industry and for some of the people I work with think a smile is a sign of weakness. A smile means you're laying out the welcome mat for people to step on you. And I've been stepped on a few times.
I thought about Paul Lawrence Dunbar's epic poem, We All Wear the Mask, when mine slipped one day.

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.
    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
            We wear the mask.
    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
            We wear the mask!  —Source:

Then I decided, if you want to think of me as an angry black woman, go ahead. I get mad. I'm human. I shouldn't have to qualify my emotions because you view me through your prism of a stereotype. Until your opinion starts paying my bills, meeting my deadlines or mattering in anyway, I don't care what you think. 

You don't have to like me, but as a human, I deserve respect. I can share my happiness, but I'm supposed to suck down my anger like a bitter brewed cup of McDonald's coffee? Stress kills. Holding back anger does too. Would you rather an explosion or a minor eruption? 
Would you like to see your tires slashed and your windshield broken or can we have an argument, build a bridge and get over it? 
The choice is yours because I'm choosing to express myself. Don't like it? Don't talk to me. And then I probably won't get mad at all. 

Join ReShonda Tate Billingsley this Thursday at Barnes and Noble

The prolific and hilarious ReShonda Tate Billingsley will be signing copies of her latest novel, What's Done In The Dark this Thursday at Barnes and Noble, located at 11055 Carolina Place Parkway, Pineville.

#1 national bestselling author ReShonda Tate Billingsley gets to the heart of loss, love, and betrayal in her latest novel that is sure to delight her legions of fans.
Felise is not the kind of woman to cheat on her husband—especially with her best friend’s man. But after one perfect storm of a night, it happened…and she can hardly believe it herself. To top it off, when she woke up in the morning, she found that the man to whom she guiltily made passionate love died of a heart attack overnight. Felise, who is a nurse and a good citizen at that, leaves the hotel room without reporting his death.
When her best friend, Paula, finds out about her husband’s sudden death a day later, Felise is overcome with guilt and grief. She must be there for her friend and her family, but when her husband repeatedly tries to apologize for his absentminded behavior and Paula starts investigating who Stephen was with the night he died, Felise finds it hard to hold herself together. Should she come clean and tell everyone what she did? Or should she just let it go and move past the mistake on her own?
ReShonda isn't just an amazing author, but she is a filmmaker and publisher. She and her writing twin, Victoria Christopher Murray, started Brown Girls Publishing in February and have been releasing some exciting books that have been getting rave reviews from readers and the publishing industry.

ReShonda's book, Let The Church Say Amen, is slated to be turned into a BET movie and she even has a role in the movie (she may or may not be writing her Emmy speech right now).

Want to go? 

What's Done In The Dark book signing

When: Thursday, July 31 at 7 p.m.

WhereBarnes & Noble
 11055 Carolina Place Parkway,       

  Pineville, NC 28134

PS: Want to have ReShonda and Victoria at your next book club meeting? Enter their contest:
Select Forever an Ex AND What's Done in the Dark as your book of the month between now and December 28, 2014 Take a picture of your receipt/proof of purchase for Forever and Ex AND What's Done in the Dark. (Minimum of five book club members. Don't have a book club...join together with five friends. 
Email proof of purchase to by August 15th. Winner will be announced on August 20th 
A chance to win: Grand Prize -- Victoria and ReShonda will fly to your city and attend your book club meeting to discuss Forever an Ex and What's Done in the Dark 
First Place -- $200 Gift Card for Book Club party
Second Place -- $100 Gift Card for Book Club party 
Third Place -- Each member will receive a galley of A Blessing and a Curse,the fourth and final Jasmine/Rachel book by Victoria & ReShonda coming March 2015.

Monday, July 28, 2014

#WhatIWant. . .


Stay Tuned! And Share the hashtag: #WhatIWantOneClickWednesday!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cover reveal: Rumor Has It

She’s got something to talk about…



Liza Palmer couldn’t be happier when her best friend and sorority sister, Chante Britt, and her closest guy friend, Robert Montgomery, hit it off. And she’s beyond thrilled when they announce their engagement. Robert is an up-and-comer running for the North Carolina senate. Chante is a partner at a prestigious law firm. They’re a power couple made in heaven—until Liza discovers Robert in a compromising position—with another woman…

Liza can’t possibly continue to support Robert’s campaign, much less let him marry Chante. But when she tries to reveal the truth, Robert pulls out every corrupt trick in the book—including turning Chante against her. Her only choice is to seek out his opponent, Jackson Franklin, and help him take Robert down. But to Liza’s great surprise, Jackson won’t play dirty—and Liza finds him irresistible. As sparks fly, personally and politically, Liza and Jackson may become a winning team in more ways than one…