Earlier this year I became a member of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. I knew I’d become a member since the first time I learned about the plans to build the museum. For the 20+ years I’ve lived in DC and frequented the Smithsonian museums I never joined as a member. Despite the many great programs, exhibits and campaigns it just never happened. It wasn’t until last year that I finally joined the Smithsonian as a member. I mean these are things I need and should be doing. You know like get memberships and join boards. For me these small investments serve as other ways I contribute my voice. Joining the NMAAHC was certainly necessary as I’m directly connected to its mission and what it means to black people.
A month ago I unexpectedly received an invitation for a charter member preview of the museum. Talk about membership having its benefits. My best friend homie (husband) was out of town and my daughter had an orientation to attend. So naturally I took my son. Our invite was for 9am. We arrive at the museum by 830 to find a long line of other charter members. They scanned our tickets twice before entering the museum’s vast and open entryway. We were given a map and were welcomed by a large brunch spread out in the main lobby. Having missed a full breakfast we were beyond happy and thankful as we politely indulged in such offerings as deviled eggs, croissants, fruit, tarts, ice tea, cupcakes, lemonade and more. Glory!
I’m an architecture fanatic. David Adajaye’s design with its openness and structure, in particular, the filigree is !!!. While the structure is somewhat rectangular the interior managed to see intentionally circular. We were informed to start from the bottom of the museum which housed artifacts, stories and actual factual on the slave trade. There was so much to take in from Harriet Tubman’s shawl to the prices of the slaves, auction blocks and quarters. Whew. Overwhelming can’t even describe it all. We followed the walkway up to the other floors which displayed videos, sounds, media and more all from the civil rights era to Today. The other floors consisted of a community museum, music, and visual art. We spent a lot of time in the music exhibition mainly due to the interactives there and my son’s adoration for all things music.
So many highlights. So many stories and mysteries solved. Yet so many questions still remain. One: How might we respond and leverage this massive collection of our culture’s existence in ways that will shape our now and our future?
My son and I took our time. We spent about 2to almost 3 hours and still didnt’ see everything. We’re fine with that as we live here and now we will returning again and again. NMAAHC will serve as an ongoing family reunion with all the love, comfort, scars and baggage we continue to unpack. Go.
I’m taking a short break from working on a social media brief to write this while listening to Kaytranada who is not from Baltimore. I love Bmore. We actually almost moved there years ago. West Bmore to be exact. My daughter was 8 or 9 at the time?? My son was 5 years old I believe. Whatever. I just remember them being mad young. So what happened was the movers were 2 hours late. BUT what really halted our moving plans was discovering the landlord/owner of the house was quite sheisty. I will spare you the deets. Moving produces so many mixed feelings. Excitement, Fear, and Super Fedupness! We knew Baltimore wasn’t meant for us at the time. Well in honesty neither is DC on many levels. However, I always love visiting Baltimore. Baltimore is such an authentic and real city to me regardless of any crime and corruption. Living in DC the political BS overtakes everything. Some people in DC assume there’s always a hidden agenda in simply doing things for the greater good. I wonder if local Baltimorian creatives, activists etc feel or go through the same thing? Anyway, I also feel this authenticity about NOLA. In DC there are pockets of authenticity that are constantly being exploited and marketed without benefitting the people that created them. I DIGRESS! Gentrification Blues. And not that Baltimore and Nola aren’t experiencing that as well it’s just I always felt that way. I remember being a pre-teen running down low-lit alleyways with my cousins and experiencing some of the best cookouts in Baltimore.
So we made a stop overnight after visiting the Falls. We spent the rest of the afternoon being slightly typical tourists cuz in all honesty, we don’t roll like typical tourists. The next day we devoured brunch at Terra Cafe with it’s distracting high ceilings and serene green decor. Before heading back to DC we visited Baltimore Museum of Art. Some highlights included the Imagining Home exhibit andFORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. Of course we checked out the contemporary art collection which featured favorites Yinke Shonibare and Nick Cave. My kids complained they don’t like art museums but end up enjoying themselves and dissecting the work once we leave. E
Ceiling scapes at Terra Cafe
Kids so-called not enjoying themselves
My son’s blurry face. Daughter in the distance.
We were determined a couple of weeks ago to do a little getaway before school started. We wanted to do something different. Explore new lands that were close. Kilgore Falls. We knew there were plenty of waterfalls near DC. Kilgore Falls is located in Rock State Park which is located in Jarrettsville Maryland about an hour and45 minutes from the city. We had never heard of Jarrettsville. We didn’t know what to expect or to make of random seniors biking down the main road, vast gated mansions, beautiful old barns, farm animals, small sturdy bridges and pay what you can fruit stands. Green everywhere. Not bad. And thankfully no Trump signs appeared!
We pulled into the main parking lot which is still a 10-minute hike away from the falls. The hike was cool and had me nervous a bit as there was no railing. We shimmied down into the water crossing. Swim shoes were certainly needed as we crossed over slippery rocks and branches to the falls.
We found a large rock to put our things. The kids and my husband headed over first. I sat on the rock watching barefooted kids leap from rocks onto other rocks. The falls and surrounding rock formations were naturally made for great photos and postcards. The moss, the water bubbling around me and the falls themselves were perfect.
I saw my son climb onto a large rock and leap into the water just below the falls. No fear. I watched my daughter slowly shimmy into a fall. Partial fear. When they came back to the rock I went exploring. I fear the cold. The water was freezing! Nope, this is not the Carribean. Twas a refreshing time.
My kids are keeping journals this summer. Sometimes they write what they want. Other times I may give them a prompt. I told my son to write a rap about Trump. What followed was simply put “hot fire burn” My son has such a deep understanding of things and can easily summarize a concept or idea. I hope he writes a book. Not someday. Now.
Trump Trap Rap by Dahvi
Donald Trump is a businessman/
running for president that’s a scam/
a fake toupee no way/ get him out! Today! Build a wall. Trying to stall.
No one to call. Forget the law.
His scalp is super raw. Looks like a red bouncy ball.
Probably got a luxurious life.
Probably bought his wife.
His views are nasty/
Probably Got em from Drake. Degrassi.
Trying to make drama from media attention/Probably for some evil henchmen.
Voldemort. Harry Potter.
Builds power plants. Kills Otters.
No Life and that’s just for starters
I attended the wedding of a good friend of mine this weekend. It was all white wedding and wonderful. Sweet and loving. I was a bridesmaid. I had never been a bridesmaid before. It was pretty cool. Although I didn’t like the photo part. I don’t like having photos taken of me but this was part of the job and for my friend so I was okay with posing and cheesing. Another good friend of mine is getting married next summer. Next month my husband was asked by a fan to perform at his wedding. In September my husband will be a best man for his friend’s wedding. My brother gets married in October. The list continues. Next month is also our 17th anniversary. We’re planning a trip for September. Each year for fun I look up the gifts you’re supposed to give for that year. These lists are crazy by the way. And who made them? This year’s list includes items such as amethyst, tie clips, and even furniture. The furniture I don’t mind. Or a good trip. I pride myself in being an extremely thoughtful gift giver. I try to think of what the person needs and enjoys. I don’t expect gifts. I’m happy for a short getaway or doing something we’ve never done before. It won’t include skydiving although my husband definitely wants to jump out of a plane. Whatever we do it won’t include cufflinks or the color purple as the list suggests.
I’ve been pretty quiet as of late. As far as social media is concerned. Aside from sharing a few photos here and there on my personal Instagram and this blog I just haven’t been in the mood to share much about my creative ventures etc. As the craziness and noise of the world increases, I get quieter. I go inward. I’m still working but even more quietly than before. I’m longing for a respite via travel and definitely new energy. I’m enjoying indulging in the quiet.
Last week and the weekend’s killings left my family and I frustrated, sick, disheartened and fearful. Self-care should be part of one’s daily routine. Like it shouldn’t even be a “thing” Our society is bursting with workaholics and quests for work-life balance so yes self-care is trendy. It’s a concept. It’s an industry. As black parents raising black kids in this city and world; we do understand sharing and showing self-care is necessary. It’s natural and sometimes deliberate. I took to one of my favorite museums for some chill time aka self-caring. I’m a modern art lover, collector, appreciator. Saturday the DC Sound Museum presented some live interaction and installation. We made DIY wind chimes from tools and such while watching people flirt around the giant fountain outside. We also checked out artist Robert Irwin’s exhibit as well. Self-care and self-healing is ongoing.
Part of DC artist Linn Myers site-specific installation “Our View From Here
Captured this while walking through the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival feat The Basque Region and California.