Black Parenting Ain’t for Punks: My Brown Baby Review

Posted in Life, Reviews by
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I know what you are thinking and want to insert an eye roll, but the truth is yes every parenting relationship has its set of difficulties, but since I am a Black woman raising Black children. This is all I know.

I can only tell you what my experiences have yielded. I can only say what my challenges are. Even though I come from a family I often affectionately refer to as the United Nations. I can’t tell you the problems my sister is having raising her half-Mexcian a quarter Irish, and a quarter Filipino children is like. I can’t articulate what it was like for my brother to raise my half-Black half-Japanese nephew. I wouldn’t be able to speak to the joys of raising my White nephew in rural Tennessee.

What I can tell you is my 12-year-old son isn’t allowed to play with toy guns, and my nephews don’t understand why. What I can also say is in my house we watch Black-ish every week just to find out how to navigate the tightrope that is upward Black mobility. It is what the Cosby Show never talked about in a way that has never been articulated in public before. It is the how to lavish my children with the reward of my hard work Diddy-Get-him-to-the-greek-Jonah-Hill-Black-Kids while teaching them about what it means to be Black and have a cultural foundation that should make them proud, WOKE, and successful on their own terms. It is literally the conversations I have with my girlfriends. Like moving daughter to a White school district when I get my house or keeping her in the already above standard charter school in Chicago that she attends.

No one size fits all manual

There is no one size fits all manual, but Denene Millner is knocking down the fourth wall of Black Parenting in her newest book, “MyBrownBaby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children.” This is the first of many more fantastic titles coming from her very own imprint, Denene Millner Books.

via GIPHY

It is an honest and insightful collection of essays written from her critically acclaimed website MyBrownBaby.com

Her blog has become the roadmap for Black and Brown mothers as they navigate the uncharted waters of modern Black motherhood. She’s often saying what I am thinking, and she writes better than I ever could. From her struggles to raising a beautiful mahogany skinned Black girl in the age of Video Vixen turned housewife streets of Atlanta. With chapter titles like “Black and Proud: Tending to the Self-Esteem of Black Children” to “How I Help my Daughter Embrace Her Beauty” there is something for every mom at every stage of your parenting journey. Parenting isn’t for punks, and you need a BFF like Denene to help you through it. After publishing almost 2,000 posts aimed at lifting the voices of moms and dads of color, she’s now curated them into the first-ever print collection of the website’s most important essays. It’s available now via Amazon.

My Brown Baby is Beautiful

I am a mother to a 10-year-old daughter who probably consumes way more than her fair share of beauty videos on Youtube. That’s what you get when you grow up with a mother who’s a beauty blogger and a grandmother who’s a Mary Kay cosmetics veteran. It becomes an occupational hazard. While I’ve found it easy to set age boundaries for what tint of gloss she can wear to recently ending the era, which is a staple for every Black Girl, a rite of passage. She’s no longer wearing barrettes at the end of her platts. I kinda wanted to cry. She’s still my baby, but she’s growing up, and I have to balance between allowing her the freedom to have a personal style and knowing what is age appropriate for each stage. She’s beautiful. She’s that kind of light-skinned girl that folks love to hate with natural curls and beautiful brown eyes. I know that girl, I was that girl. I was the mire of many looks and the envy of plenty of girls who thought it would be better to fight me than to befriend me. I am leading her through this journey. Watching my daughter enter the world is like sending out your priceless Faberge egg into the world praying it comes back in one piece and still full of shine.
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Much of what Millner is expressing is her own struggles with beauty and the natural transformation that all women walk, but the nuances of living in her skin color, and how to impart wisdom from that journey to her daughter in a way that feels authentic and honest. We could all use more self-love, and Denene is giving us the space to talk with our girls and boys about what it means to be beautiful at every age and every stage in a way that is right for your brown baby.

I can’t wait to pour over the rest of the stories from MyBrownBaby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children. I know what it is like to raise two Brown children. I am living this life hoping to teach them about how they matter and what is truth in a world full of alternative facts. I want their center of gravity to be rooted in just right amount of values, and a dash of I can do any damn thing I want in this world. I encourage you to get a copy of Denene Millner’s book. This is the parenting book we all need, and it is carving out a new lane in the Parenting Genre. I am excited to see what is next from this seasoned author and her new imprint.

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March 7, 2017
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Leslie Jones’ Olympic Tweets are Gold Medal Worthy

Posted in Life by
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A previous version of this post can be found on LinkedIn Pulse.

Comedienne Leslie Jones had the best weekend ever! On Twitter Leslie Jones has been really the absolute best fangirl for every sport in the Olympics. Over the last 72+ hours, since the Olympics started Jones has been giving us a play by play of it ALL. Started her coverage with a gif of her dancing in these United States flag leggings, this American flag tank top, with a USA Olympic hat and while the draped in the flag is Cape, dancing in her apartment in New York. Talk about school spirit.

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August 12, 2016
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Everything is Going to Be Alright

Posted in Beauty, Life by

I wrote a post that seemed to offend every Black woman with internet access. I apparently pissed off most people in the internet’s Jr. high lunchroom that is Facebook. I love that y’all are fired up about beauty. It is something I have been talking about in some form or another for years.

I write, speak, and even authored a book because I love the industry. From the history of Madame CJ Walker to Miko Branch. My point wasn’t about light vs. dark, natural vs. relaxed, weave vs. no weave. Like I am team no team because I have been both. I’ve cut all my hair off. I’ve had relaxed hair down my back. I’ve had more blowouts, press and curls, roller sets, and product just like I am sure other Black women can maybe understand. Again, I don’t speak for you. I speak for me. It may make you laugh or cry, and it is okay to feel.

It was simply a sisterhood “hey girl. I love you, but I want you to do better.” I said something I’ve said before. I said something I would defend again and again, because like many of you. I want us all to win.

Yes, I understand that there are Brown/Black children dying in our streets. It’s an election year. The glaciers are melting. The hole in the Ozone is bigger and bigger every year. Fur is murder. And I watch too much Fixer Upper on HGTV. There’s DOJ report out today about injustice in Baltimore. I can’t often talk about those things based on the clients I have or the projects I work on. Let’s not be so singular that we can’t talk about many things at once, or be enraged about that. I can still post pictures of my mani/pedi on Instagram. I can still snapchat my new favorite lipstick. I can talk about someone’s hair. During the DNC Convention, I tweeted about a woman who had lipstick on her teeth. It was her big moment, and I was sad that no one told her that before she walked out in front of the world on live TV.

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I know that may be new to you, it isn’t; however, new to me or new for me. I am sorry you just found out about it this week.

Last time I checked, you are still allowed to have your opinion. Did I mean to disrespect someone who took what I said so personally? No. That was never my intention. But we’ve got to be more flexible than this. What I do want is for us to be allowed dynamic conversations that allow us to see every side of the story at the table. My Black experience and upbringing may be different than yours. It may look just like yours.

My child is off fucking limits. I decided to be a writer, blogger, and public social media figure. I don’t post much about my kids because I want them not to have to deal with y’all. I can take whatever you’d like to say. I’ve heard it all.

Group think/Mob mentality says that there is no room to improve because we all agree that this right here is already good enough. Why to say hey, it would work better if we do X.

It is how we progress and innovate. It is how we continue to move forward together.

I don’t hate Black women. I am one. Even if you don’t think I look like one. Even if you believe I am more concerned about beauty over brawn, and accomplishments.

Can we hug and move on or just agree to disagree? Or just go throw out all of your beauty products. You’re going completely face nude.

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August 10, 2016
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Why Gabby Douglas’ Hair Should Matter to You

Posted in Beauty, Life by
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Gabby Douglas is a decorated Olympian, Gold Medal all around gymnast, an inspiring young woman, but her hair irks me. I think it should irritate you a little too. Many of my posts are about beauty or some quirky thing I am thinking. Of course, during the Olympic gymnastics preliminary rounds I posted about Gabby’s horrible edges. It was satire. It was meant to be funny, but after a few days, I still feel some type of way about it.

Seems like everyone thinks I hate Gabby!

Some people are going to agree and many won’t agree, but hear me out here. Read more…

August 9, 2016
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What if he hadn’t known Christ?

Posted in Life by
Baby's Breath, Church, Aisle, Weddings, Marriage, Christ, God, Faith

The man I married was an all day on Sunday Christian. A church musician, but I wonder would my outcome been different if he hadn’t known Christ?

This is a question I’d have to ask myself while down on my knees praying to God. It was rhetorical, but I kinda needed an answer. I’d prayed that God would get me through the tough parts of marriage. The part that no one tells you about, the part that isn’t pretty lace and bows. The something old, is the childish games that get played by you and your spouse, where no one wins. The something new, is you, in the mirror trying to figure out who you’ve become. While wondering will your favorite eyeshadow cover that bruised eye. The something borrowed sometimes is your faith; that we are going to make it. It isn’t about the baby’s first steps. It is the waiting for your husband to come home knowing he’s been gone too long and up to no good. Its the puffy eyes and tear stained t-shirts because you ran out of tissues.
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April 23, 2016
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You can’t move mountains with whack faith

Posted in Life by
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“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I
tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to
this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing
will be impossible for you.””
Matthew 17:20 NIV

 

image credit Terez Baskin

The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the demons from a
boy possessed. His reply was simply your faith is whack. If you
simply believed with the mustard seed size faith you go easily move
mountains, but because you think you can’t do it you just won’t. Your
unbelief will be your reality.

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April 17, 2016
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