Author Archives: SuzyKnew!

About SuzyKnew!

SuzyKnew! is dedicated to improving the sexual and reproductive health and sexual pleasure of women of color.

When The First Lady Isn’t A Lady

Before the dust settles on the Trumps’ move-out and we start Black History month,  we thought we’d take one last potshot at Melania, the worst First Lady in U.S. history.

This finding isn’t just a SuzyKnew! opinion. For the record: Melania was voted the least popular First Lady in the history of the U.S. On her way out the door, she flouted history at every turn, refusing to write her own thank you notes to staff and more obnoxiously, refusing to give Jill Biden, the next First Lady a tour of the White House.  These have been long-standing American traditions. Dissing people is what the Trumps do.

People don’t like to talk about it, but Melania is the first former – shall we say… “call girl” the country has had as a first lady.  In the early days of the Trump presidency, journalists were sued for mentioning it. But since SuzyKnew! has a modest reach and following,  we’re not worried about being sued or trolled.  For those who doubt Melania’s unlady-like behavior as a model with legs that spread like butter, you can easily find nude pictures of her on the internet. Just google it.  Remember when Vanessa Williams was forced to give up her crown as Miss America in 1984 because of nude pictures  of her in lesbian poses were found? It took Vanessa forever to put that behind her and move on.  Vanessa had to confront it.  And Melania?  She’s never confronted the issue of exactly what kind of “model” she was and if her behavior was lady-like. And, how did she meet Donald Trump? Through Jeffery Epstein’s modeling agency?

Melania’s recent unlady-like actions, leaving the White House indicate that she doesn’t follow or believe in her own “Be Best” campaign. Yeah. That’s right. Melania’s “Be Best” campaign is a sham. A Fake. Surprise. Surprise.

Melania came into the White House tarnished as a lady of ill repute and she left with the same stain.

 

What To Read During Martin Luther King Month

Every time MLK Day comes around I feel like I don’t get a chance to celebrate it the way I want to. Face it. We need more than one day to celebrate Martin and all that he stood for. We need a month. Hence the title.

This feeling is stronger this year after white supremists mounted an insurrection January 6 against  the United States.  More and more people are beginning to recognize that there is a large group of people (25 – 30% or more?) in the U.S. who want to overthrow the government and install Trump as president – for life.  Essentially, after refusing to acknowledge the 60 plus failed court cases and numerous vote recounts, these people want to declare votes from Black areas of the country as Move to Trash“fraudulent” or null and void and recognize only votes from areas where there are majority Trump supporters or white people.

To soothe the nerves and find inspiration, SuzyKnew! suggests these articles printed in “The Atlantic” as reads to celebrate MLK season.

Benjamin Mays: Martin Luther King Jr. Eulogy – The Atlantic

Jesmyn Ward: Racism “Built Into the Bones” of Mississippi – The Atlantic

Amanda Gorman ‘The Hill We Climb’

We all agree. Amanda Gorman was incredible delivering her poem “The Hill We Climb” during the 2021 Inauguration.

Twenty-two year old Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet and a Harvard graduate. She became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.   Since presenting her inaugural poem, two of her books yet-to-be-released have rocketed to the top of Amazon’s best seller’s list: “The Hill We Climb: Poems” at number 1 and “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” as number two.

Read Amanda’s poem below and watch her deliver it.

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When day comes we ask ourselves,

Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.

We’ve braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.

And the norms and notions of what just is

isn’t always just-ice.

And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.

Somehow we do it.

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

A nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time,

where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president,

only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes we are far from polished,

far from pristine,

but that doesn’t mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge a union with purpose,

to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and

conditions of man.

And so we lift our gazes, not to what stands between us,

but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another.

We seek harm to none, and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

not because we will never again know defeat,

but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time,

then victory won’t lie in the blade

but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade

the hill we climb

if only we dare it.

Because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

It’s the past we step into

and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy,

and this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth,

in this faith we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption

we feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour,

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter,

to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while we once we asked,

How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now, we assert,

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,

but move to what shall be.

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free.

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation,

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens.

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with.

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest.

We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.

We will rise from the windswept northeast,

where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.

We will rise from the sun-baked south.

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover,

and every known nook of our nation and

and every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

 

https://youtu.be/LZ055ilIiN4

 

 

Trump’s Limp Kwanzaa Message

Happy Kwanzaa, Ladies. Happy 2021.

I know today you’re celebrating the last day of Kwanzaa and the new year.  But, I had to stop and ask: Did you see that limp Kwanzaa message Trump had the nerve to post? He posted it on December 26, the first day of Kwanzaa.

I looked at it, and I thought, why bother?

Why pretend that you care? You don’t.

We will know it’s truly a new year when Joe Biden is inaugurated as president January 20th. There will be a collective sigh of relief.  Of course, the U.S. is still horribly divided; there are people working to overthrow our democracy and COVID is running rampant.  But, let us start with hope and not let this limp message take the light out of our new year.

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The First Lady and I send our best wishes to all those observing Kwanzaa.

For many, today marks the first day in a weeklong celebration of African culture and heritage.  As families, friends, and communities light the Kinara over the next 7 days, our Nation honors the indelible contributions of African Americans to the strength and vitality of the United States.

 

 

Jerusalema

See the source image

It’s only fitting that as we roll into Christmas week that SuzyKnew! features Jerusalema by South Africa’s DJ Master KG and singer Nocembo Zikode. This uplifting song with a religious feel came out late last year and went viral during the COVID lockdown – with over 200 million views on YouTube in less than a year.

Most people don’t understand what the song, which is mostly in Zulu, means but get that the song must be “religious-leaning” because of the title and the singers keep saying “Jerusalema.”  The song has been called “a COVID Anthem” that brings joy in the midst of grim times.  Everyone wants to dance to it and dance challenges have sprung up all over.  My office Holiday party featured top leadership shaking a leg to the beat.

The words to Jerusalema mean “Jerusalem is my home, guard me, walk with me, do not leave me here — Jerusalem is my home, my place is not here, my kingdom is not here.”  It’s actually a Zulu gospel song. We all feel like we don’t belong in this COVID (and Trump) nightmare… but somewhere beautiful like Christmas.

Fertility Friday: Do You Need Your Doctor’s ‘Blessing’ To Use Fertility Awareness?

Today we’re sharing Fertility Friday’s episode about health professionals, and how they may or may not respond to a woman’s decision to use fertility awareness.

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Countless women have had negative experiences when they express their desire to use fertility awareness-based methods as birth control (and even for conception in some cases). This seems to be improving as general awareness of fertility awareness increases, but most health professionals still have little knowledge or training in this area.

What this means for you is …..

1. You don’t need your doctor’s permission to use fertility awareness (because ultimately it up to you to decide how to manage your fertility!!).

2. Most health professionals (including doctors, midwives, nurses, naturopaths, etc.) have not received specific training in the area of fertility awareness cycle charting. It’s similar to me saying that most health professionals aren’t also dentists.

3. For accurate information about fertility awareness-based methods, and specific training in those areas it’s best to find an instructor who has been trained and certified in a specific method! This way you can get the support you need to gain confidence and benefit from the highest possible efficacy, particularly when you’re planning to rely on using it for birth control.

It’s not easy when you go against the grain! Opting for fertility awareness-based methods for birth control also puts the responsibility on you as you embark on the learning process. But don’t feel discouraged if your health professional doesn’t give you their “blessing”!

You don’t need it.

Click here to listen to the podcast episode for some encouragement.

Meghan Markle’s Miscarriage

Just recently the Black Duchess of Sussex,  Meghan Markle, revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage in July. Meghan is not alone. Many women experience pregnancy loss. Around one out of every 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  But, Black women experience miscarriage more.  Research shows that Black women experience all types of pregnancy loss more often than white women, including miscarriage as well as stillbirth, preterm birth, and infant death.

Meaghan documented her loss in a New York Times Op Ed.

Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same.”

Michelle Obama described her experience as “lonely, painful and demoralizing” in her memoir, Becoming.   And, Serena Williams and Beyonce both opened up about their painful experiences with pregnancy complications. Black women are speaking out.

Why do Black women experience miscarriage more? This question has mystified doctors for decades. Even when risk factors, such socio-economic background, health, and education are taken into consideration, pregnancy loss is still greater among Black women than white.

Moreover, the National Partnership For Women and Families report: Black women are three times more likely to have fibroids than white women, and the fibroids occur at younger ages and grow more quickly for Black women; Black women show signs of preeclampsia earlier in pregnancy than white women, which if improperly treated can lead to severe complications including death and Black women experience physical “weathering,” meaning our bodies age faster than white women’s due to exposure to chronic stress linked to socioeconomic disadvantage and discrimination over the life course, thus making pregnancy riskier at an earlier age. Yes, ladies, systematic racism is real. So, is the struggle.

Finally, the not-for-profit states Black-serving hospitals provide lower quality maternity care. Seventy-five percent of Black women give birth at hospitals that serve predominantly Black populations.

What Can You Do?  They say knowledge is power. Knowing that Black women are not doing as well as their white sisters when it comes to pregnancy and reproductive health will help you stay vigilant about your health. Of course, eat healthy and properly and don’t miss your antenatal check ups. But, reach out to friends and family who can share their experiences, like Meghan is doing, so you know you’re not alone. There is evidence that when a celebrity speaks out about their problem, others are more likely to speak up and seek help.  Learn what has worked and hasn’t worked.

Blacknews.com offers resources for Black women’s health, but we encourage you to ask around.  We want to hear from you. If you have a resource for Black women’s health that has worked well for you personally or someone close, you want to share, email us at SuzyKnew@suzyknew.com or tweet us @SuzyKnew! Let’s help each other stay healthy.

 

A Sista’s Guide To A Thankful Thanksgiving During COVID

Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow, and many of us (hopefully most of us) won’t be gathering with large numbers of family and friends, but spending the day with just a few close people – or maybe even alone.  Many people are lamenting the strict CDC guidance that encourages us not to get together with people outside our immediate circles to avoid spreading the infection.  But, ladies, let’s look at some of the benefits of this new way of doing Thanksgiving. Having a small, quiet Thanksgiving can a be a true blessing. You can indeed be thankful for many reasons:

You can eat the Thanksgiving food you want to eat instead of what is served. Okay, maybe you will miss your grandmother’s sweet potato pie or your sister’s macaroni and cheese. But, just think: You won’t have to pretend that you love that soggy green bean casserole your aunt rolls out every year. You can also eat your favorite part of the turkey and not worry your little cousins will eat it up before you get to the table. There have been countless times I missed getting the turkey wing because someone knabbed it before I could.   This year I will only eat turkey wings.

And maybe you don’t like turkey. This Thanksgiving you can have whatever you want to eat. The way you want it. You can even stick to the diet you’ve been doing so well on these last few weeks.  This Thanksgiving you don’t have to blow it. Halleluiah.

You don’t have to worry your family will judge you for what you wear or how you look.  Ladies. No need to plan out a special Thanksgiving outfit. Keep your money and just pull on something comfy.  You won’t need to worry that your family will notice you’ve put on a little weight since last year or since you started that new job or graduate program. The fact you didn’t have the money or the time to get your hair done will not a problem at all – right?   This year – come to Thanksgiving as you are au naturel, and be blessed.

Family won’t get together and whisper about the man you’re dating, your recent divorce, or the fact you don’t have a man – and never do! Thanksgiving is definitely the time to catch up with what your big and little cousins are doing with their love lives.  And it’s a time when your intimate life gets way too much scrutiny.   But, this year – no worries.  No one needs to know that Charles left you a month ago and you’re about to lose your mind. They don’t need to know what you and Squeaky are doing because you know you just cannot bring Squeaky around your family.  This year you can reflect on your own if cupid is doing you wrong or not and just reach out to a few select family members to help you think it all through.

Use Zoom to stage your Thanksgiving to your advantage.  Many families (including my own) will spend part or all of their Thanksgiving on Zoom. Use this to your advantage. Hop on and off the Zoom call as the spirit moves you. Set up the view to show off what’s working for you right now, like your trendy new top or earrings. Don’t worry about your PJ bottoms if no one can see them. Show off new furniture pieces but hide dirty dishes and laundry.  You get the picture.

Now that I’ve got your juices flowing, I’m sure you can think of lots of reasons to be thankful this year.  This is a very short list.  Of course being separated from family can be sad. But, be creative and positive and spend Thanksgiving in a way you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to and most of all… be thankful.