Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why I am proud of an African American Lineage


 From the moment they came out with the term "African American" for people of color I have questioned the validity of  it as it pertains to me. I cannot lie,  initially I took offense to being called African, for I was not born in Africa.  The only insight of Africa I had been told was of an uneducated people walking around a poor country with hardly any clothes.

I never really thought about it,  I considered myself  just a person of color born in America, but as the years went by and I became older and wiser and I began to research my heritage I found that there is a true story of a magnificent people that has never been told, ironically it was left out of the history books.

Today I look in the mirror and I see a caramel colored female with slightly slanted eyes  a perfectly rounded nose and full luscious lips and I see an undeniable ethnic nationality looking back at me.

 I take a look at my Brothers and Sisters and I see rainbow of  colors, beautiful colors of pecan, caramel, brown, chocolate, beige, tan every different shade of brown you can imagine, what a vast array of colors our God has made.  I am proud to be an African American because that is what God made me.

If I close my eyes and listen real close I can almost hear the beat of the drums, the dance of the Mandinka Warriors or of the chants of the Ashanti tribe calling out to each other in a mystical voice understanding every word. They are dancing because they are happy, dancing because they are free, dancing and unashamed because they are made in God's image.

Retrieved from

 We were once a beautiful and proud nation, our ancestors are the magnificent and undisputed, gifted Egyptians of history, the Pharaohs of old, the builder of the pyramids,

the masters of mummification, the original surgeons,  they could cut a body open and close it back up and not a mark would be left to show the incision. Now that’s  intelligence.

The Africans came from this lineage, and even though thousands of my ancestors were taken from their homeland because of jealousy and greediness, and put into small holes aboard ships not fit to hold cargo, somehow they survived, although they were beaten and starved as they made that voyage across the Atlantic, my people strong-willed and  full of pride endured the hardships.

Retrieved from

Free men and women were taken from their country to be slaves to another, for 400 years they were considered to be property of another, although God made them free .  For 400 years they were enslaved, beaten, made to work from sunup to sundown, they were told they were nothing, treated even worse. 

But somehow they survived, they prayed to a God that they could not see, could not touch, but they prayed anyway and  they would sing and dance the tears away.

 There oppressors often wondered, what is it about these people that keeps them going, they would often peek around the corner at the shacks (if they could be called that)on the plantations far away from the big house, but close enough to monitor.  Their shacks were no more than a few sticks put together, they did not have the luxury of a concrete floor, or a wooden one for that matter.

In the summer it was scorching. In the winter it was freezing. They would sit around the fire at night and tell stories of their homeland, they would laugh and dance and pray, yes they would pray,  for  you see it was their belief in God that kept them going, they knew somehow, someway they would overcome. Their oppressors may have taken their freedom ,they may have even taken their children and loved ones but the one thing they could not take was their spirit, their will to survive.

My ancestors endured slavery, hatred, segregation, bigotry, murder by the hundreds, rape by the thousands, separation of love ones, absconded from their kids by force, never to be seen again. We were a nation of bastards, we were not born in America but bought to America by hate.

Thankfully by the grace of God, we have overcome and we are yet overcoming.  Once a people that were forbidden to read or write, once thought of as ignobles with no intelligence or capabilities of learning, we are now inventors, judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers, preachers, authors  and the list goes on and on. We are a people proud of our heritage, proud of who we are.

African American is not who I am but what I am, It is my heritage, my culture, my nationality, it does not matter to me whether I am called Negro, Black, Colored or African American, because my Nationality or the color of my skin does not define me, I am defined by my values, standards and beliefs.

I am a beautifully made creature, brought into existence by God himself, the possibilities are limitless. I am free to be whatever or whoever I choose to be. So why am I proud to be an African American, I'm proud because I was chosen by God to continue the legacy of a Rich and Beautiful Nation.   



Friday, September 26, 2014

How much are you worth?


$5, $10, $50 The auctioneer called, Do I have an offer,  going once, going twice, sold for $5 to the bachelor  number 1 in the front row with the top and bottom gold grill. The young, pretty girl with no self-esteem sat shyly smiling as he looked over and winked his eye and his gold teeth sparkled. For less than a McDonald’s value meal she had been bought and sold.     

 Daily young women are bought and sold for the price of a happy meal or movie. Never really understanding their importance. A vicious cycle begin to form at a young age and choices are made that debilitate their ability to think rationally.   

Knowing your value is important but knowing that you are of value is paramount.  We often get caught up in this game of life looking for love and we typically find it in all the wrong places. If you are searching for something diligently you will find it. The only question is to whom will you fall prey?

Knowing your value comes directly from knowing yourself, knowing your qualities, good and bad, standing face to face and toe to toe with yourself and facing the real you, the good, the bad and the ugly. Learning the character of your nature and living in the strength of it and not wallowing in its weakness. Accepting your weakness as they are but daring yourself to improve, daring yourself to beat the odds and overcome every obstacle in your way. 

Daring yourself to be the you, you were destined to be. How many of us are up for the challenge? The problem as I have come to understand it is, coming into the knowledge of who you are and your value requires work. You have to put in the work. You have to do the work. You have to come face to face with the demons of yesterday that stops you from moving forward today. You have to acknowledge and forgive to even make a step towards improvement. You have to ask yourself for forgiveness before you can forgive others. You have to put in the work.    

It has always baffled me that we are willing to work for someone else and draw a paycheck, often still not able to pay our bills but we never value ourselves enough to put in the work to liberate our hearts, minds and souls so that we can truly live a happy and free life, not bound by anyone or anything.

The question remains. How much are you worth and are you willing to put in the work to maintain your value?

When you learn teach someone else. Pass it on. Be a teacher.

I challenge you to #EmbraceyourGreatness! #inspiresomeonetoday

Tonya White Johnson  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Empowering Word for Today!

People may be in your life,  but that does not mean they are on your path or going in your direction. Allow them to walk in their own lane and you walk in yours. Embrace those that are on your path as they can always support your dreams and help you along the way. Love those that are not, as YOU can always support their dreams and help them along the way. Know that you right where you are supposed to be.  I had to go through something to come to this understanding, but I am grateful for “the going through.”
Have an amazing day !! Look for something exceptional in your path today! #embraceyourgreatness
All The BEST,
Tonya White Johnson