Backstage @ the Women in Film 2014 Crystal + Lucy Awards | June 11, 2014

Maya Angelou

When I tell you that my entire timeline is all about Maya you know how much this affects me. My network is her fan club. She raised us. She expressed our feelings in her words which sounded so much better than our own. She welcomed us into womanhood. Into manhood. Even to Wake Forest. She made me feel beautiful in spite of being black. She made me giggle when the boys in Mrs. Harrison’s 8th grade class had to say “between my thighs”. Most of all she taught me that life doesn’t frighten me at all. I am so grateful that I inhabited this planet at the same time she did. And thankful that we crossed paths.

She was such an icon. She was an omnipresent entity for most of my life. From the time I first read her poems in elementary school to reciting Still I Rise in middle school. From discovering she was an endowed professor at my college Wake Forest to seeing  her in an Orientation Week video. To dissecting her work in class, to looking up a poem when I needed encouragement. Going to see her speak, and hearing her on NPR a few months ago. She was there.

 Maya’s voice carried through so much. She was a keeper of our story and history. I cannot begin to think of the most appropriate lines of her poems that I want to quote right now. There is so much beauty and pain in so many of them that I don’t know where to start. 

She could not be caged. A phenomenal woman who rose and rose again. She encouraged us to think beyond ourselves to think daily of our legacy. To be thoughtful of others and to even know how to build yourself up. 

She was right. People don’t forget how you make them feel. And the feelings she inspired in me are so strong that I cannot forget Dr. Maya Angelou.May her  river sing eternally. 

~ Ma Noirceur

Just a little something I wrote. 

Small Win #1

I want to make a series of sharing the small wins of our country. Today I will share a fact about teen pregnancy.  

In 1991, the U.S. teen birth rate was 61.8 births for every 1,000 adolescent females, compared with 29.4 births for every 1,000 adolescent females in 2012.

Cold Commute.

Real feel: -9°.

Bus 69.


Arrive at Harvard square at 8:59.

Email: Will be late. 19 minute walk away. 

Frowning without trying.

Face whipped.

Eyes water.

Fingers go numb.

Thought: Fingers… who needs them. 

Keep walking. 

Bridge over icy water.

Thought: Why are bridges so much windier?

9 minutes away. 

Face freezing. 

Chest sweating. 

Thought: Nose.. who needs one. 

Cross the street.

Walk into the heat.

Defrost to the beat. 

Coat off. 

Ass in seat.



Today may be the first day I have ever truly been cold. All the other times I thought I was cold, I was probably just underdressed. Waiting for the bus in -7 I began to cry. Not from my conscious mind but the wind took me and my eyes didn’t know what else to do besides water. Then I walked. And I felt like a sumo wrestler was pressing onto my forehead. This winter can end now. But alas it is only beginning. 

Missing Maturity in the Marriage Debate

This is a rant. Recently my timeline has been bombarded with hoards of relationship advice to 20 somethings. Namely the ridiculous article 23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged at 23 but also this one: The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage which has resurfaced after about 18 months… Both articles belittle the commitments that 20 somethings are making to each other as if to say: Hey you there, I know you are an adult but you have no idea what you are doing so I am going to give you stats about people like you and how they end up.

But that’s just it. Neither author provides a real grounding for their argument. The stats quoted in the Times article are aggregates. Yes those who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to slide into a marriage that ends in divorce, but those same stats when looking at couples who have a college degree or higher actually flips. And in terms of the author who is hating on getting engaged at 23: again partners with the same level of education have more successful marriages.  More recent data from the CDC shows that cohabitating women who have a bachelor’s degree or higher are more likely to move into marriage, and less educated women were also more likely to become pregnant while they were living with their partner.

It seems to me that both of these critiques of commitment aren’t really for the privileged audiences for which they wrote them. My friends who are engaged/married/living together at 23 are overwhelming college educated, well-traveled, mentally stable, and employed. Another thing they failed to discuss is that MONEY MATTERS! My main issue is that these writers try to develop some type of pattern of causation. Living together does not cause divorce. Being married at 23 does not cause divorce. An American culture that does not value commitment is what causes divorce.

I cannot speak for my parents’ generation. I can only speak for ours. We are the ones who come from divorced parents. If you are like me, and your parents are still together after 25+ years, you still have been touched by it: we grew up with friends whose parents were divorced or we are dating someone with divorced parents. I do not want to bash people who have gotten divorced. I get it: people are not always as compatible as they seem.  But look at pop culture, we see marriage as something as disposable as last season’s fashions. We try on a spouse and after a while we out grow them. That is America.  What needs to be discussed is why we have a culture that values deception, betrayal, scandal, and revenge (ironically all network shows). People are cohabitating at rates high across the globe. This isn’t increasing rates of divorce.

But listen, we cannot critique young people who are striving to make commitments who have seen nothing but broken homes by telling them, No No don’t do that you’ll get divorced! Our parents did everything right and it could’ve happened to them too.  Discouraging us is not going to fix everything. We need to encourage conversations about thinking critically before making a big commitment and understanding that commitment looks different for every couple. We are really going to be in over our heads if we effectively push young people away from making long term commitments. 

The letter of the week is H









Happy New Year!