Why Black Panther is Important

 I remember sitting in American History class. My high school was predominantly white with maybe 30% or less minority population. I sat next to the only other black person in the classroom.

We flipped through the history book and found the section of African American history. I am not exaggerating, out of a 400-page book, we had one chapter and it was maybe three pages long.

Can you imagine being a young American black girl discovering who you are and trying figure out your place in the world to discover ONLY three pages of people who look like you? 

Society does a great job perpetuating images and standards of beauty many cannot live up to, especially black women. Much of my childhood came with hating the way I looked and wishing I wasn’t black. Feeling cursed because my hair felt different and my skin was too dark.

I used to play pretend with my friends and cousins; we would pretend we were white. White people were beautiful. They were models. They were on the front cover of magazines. They were leading ladies in the movies, especially the romantic ones. They were Disney princesses.

By the way, I was an adult when the first black Disney princess was created. 

I recall a time in high school when a Hispanic boy asked the only two or three black girls in class why black girls didn’t have hair. Too many of us had breakage and short hair because our parents were taught to tame our afros, coils, and curls by putting a chemical in our hair to permanently strengthen it.

I was twenty-four when I discovered the real texture of my hair. Even now, I find myself defending the stigma that my hair is ugly in its natural state. I have to protect the image of my puffy afro from people trying to convince me I am more beautiful when my hair is straight.

So what does all this have to do with a Black superhero from Wakanda? 

Majority of black representation on the big screen is often extreme stereotypes, sometimes perpetuated by our own people. The only “real” black movies with people that look like me were gangster life in the hood or slavery. None of which I could relate to.

But, Black Panther is a superhero. What does that have to do with black culture?

It is the representation that being black can be cool. It is the celebrations of black roots and black culture without being slaves or poor. It is the idea that dark skin is beautiful. That kinky, coily hair is fashionable and attractive.

It is the image of black women being celebrated and regarded as crucial characters in a plot and not the side-kick of the leading white girl or white man. It is dark black skin being the majority in the movie and not just the token black man in a cast to represent “diversity.” 

Many may not comprehend the importance of black culture, our need to be celebrated or our need to be represented, not only in history books but in the media, in cartoons, and in movies.

After all, they were not the young girl questioning her beauty and the worth of her people.

Oh, how that has changed. Now, we are dark-skinned warriors, a part of a rich society the rest of the world does not even compare to. We are superheroes!

 

Ebby LeBlanc

DATING Series: Online Dating

Online dating has evolved in the last couple of years. In fact, dating is not the same as it used to be even from a year ago. However, there are plenty of success stories when it comes to online dating, mine included. The crazy thing is we both were reluctant to do it, especially on the particular site we met on. For one, I envisioned meeting my husband in church. I would be busy serving and he would notice me and the rest would be history. However, God has a way of altering our plans. I think He even has a sense of humor.  Despite what seemed unconventional, even felt a little desperate and against everything I have been taught as a woman (don’t go looking for love, love will find you), everything turned out better than imagined. We’ve been together seven years and married for five. I’ve learned from experience to not be caught up in the how or where and be open to trying something new.

Here are some tips my married friends who met online and I used.

    1. Be honest: If a long-term relationship is something you desire with intent to marry, state that in your profile. If you are simply looking for a good time, say that.  Bottom line, don’t be afraid to be honest about what you want. You want to scare off the ones who don’t have the same ambition and goals as you. Also, always put current pictures on your profile.
    2. Don’t go by the profile only: Ask questions. People lie, especially online. Even if he stated in his profile, he wants children, ask him again. Get to know one another outside of the profile. Also, don’t believe the profile over the facts. If a person wrote they don’t smoke, but they smell like a smokers lounge when you meet them, believe the evidence.
    3. Don’t meet up too soon: A lot of people make the mistake of meeting up after one conversation. My advice, talk to the person for at least three weeks before going on the first date. And when I say talk, I don’t mean text and email only.  Talk on the phone/Facetime. My husband and I emailed for a week, talk on the phone for two weeks and then met in person at a PUBLIC place.
    4. Wait before you get physical- (this includes kissing): Some feel they must be physically compatible before continuing with the relationship. *insert side eye here*  Yes, sex is an important part of marriage, but great sex is not going to keep your marriage together, it is not going to keep your lights on, it does not mean someone will be a great parent. Physical should be a plus to everything else in your relationship, not a determining factor.
    5. Trust your instincts: If you feel something isn’t right, believe it and don’t stick around to find out why.
    6. Don’t be afraid to correspond with more than one person: I had a limit of three people to go back and forth on email with. However, once I started talking on the phone, the number decreased. Once we started dating, it was just one person at a time.
    7. Know what you want: Before you start dating, you should have an idea of what you want. Now, if you made a list and it is the perfect man/woman, you may need to adjust your expectation. Most importantly, know your deal breakers.  A dealbreaker for me was someone who wasn’t a Christian.
    8. Don’t require something you don’t live up to: I am annoyed when someone says they want someone that makes a lot of money and they can’t even hold a job. Another one, you want someone with a six pack and 3% body fat and you haven’t seen your own abs since high school. Another one, you don’t want to date someone with kids, but you have three…
    9. Don’t be afraid to say no: If your uninterest, don’t go on a date. Do not waste each others time.
    10. Don’t be afraid to say yes: If you are unsure if you are interested or not, it does not hurt to continue to talk to the person to see where it goes. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to someone, who isn’t “your type” More times than not, people marry the person that wasn’t “their type” and it works out. However, once you realize it is not going anywhere, end it.
    11. Have fun: Dating can be stressful especially when you keep meeting duds. However, there is beauty in getting to know someone and building on it.
    12. Be safe: There are crazy people out there, whether you meet them at the grocery store or online. Don’t give out your personal information, don’t meet up at each other’s house on date two. Let someone close to you know where you will be at all times. My friends and I would give the first and last name and take a picture of his license plate. We did not play about safety.

This list is merely a guide and you can tweak to your standards.  Do you have tips to add? Leave them in the comments.

 

-Ebby LeBlanc

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship Series: Dear Husband

For the month of February, I am sprinkling a series of relationship/ dating blogs in honor of my five year wedding anniversary. I’m beginning with one I wrote a year or two ago and decided to update.

Dear Husband,

I wish a camera could briefly hone in on our real-life fairytale. Not for show, but for inspiration and proof that love can be pure, love can be fun, and love can be genuine.

Dear husband, I remember the very first email you sent me. It was simple, yet sweet; sweet enough for me to wonder immediately after if you would be my last first date.

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Dear husband, I love when we pray together.

Dear husband, you get on my nerves sometimes. At times, I want to punch you in the face, but more than anything, I just want to make up with you because I hate it when we fight.

Dear husband, I know I get on your nerves too and drive you crazy often. Thank you for loving me anyway.

Dear husband, I love how incredible of a father you are. I always knew you would be, but to see you interact with our son is the most priceless gift.

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Dear husband, thank you for filling our home with laughter and laughing at my corny jokes.

Dear husband, thank you for letting me be my goofy, awkward self which I’ve never been entirely comfortable showing anybody until now.

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Dear husband, thank you for breaking out in dance for no reason, especially when there’s no music.

Dear husband, I love seeing you fix things around the house and the joy you have with updating our home to a smart home. It is the sexiest thing in the world to see you exit the attic dirtied with sawdust, and particle board.

Dear husband, thank you for being positive and listening intently to my most vulnerable thoughts after the miscarriages and reminding me God has a perfect plan.

Dear husband, I love the times we play together and stay up late talking about any and everything.

Dear husband, I love our family and what we have together.

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Dear husband, I believe in your dreams and will do everything in my power to help make them a reality.

Dear husband, thank you for making me feel safe: spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

Dear husband, I look forward to growing old with you, living out our dreams, and checking off our bucket list together.

Dear husband, I love being YOUR wife

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Dear husband, I hope when you read this that it will make you smile again. : ) (You just did, didn’t you? haha!)

Dear husband, I love you more than I did yesterday and I hope to love you more tomorrow than I do today.

Happy Five year Anniversary!

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Your best friend and partner in crime,

Your wife